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How The Hunger Games Prequel Trailer May Spoil The Winner Of The Movie's Bloodbath

It's usually a truth universally acknowledged that the main character in a story probably won't be the one to bite the dust halfway through. (The exception to this rule is, of course, "Game of Thrones.") That alone should tell you that Lucy Gray Baird, the Hunger Games tribute played by "West Side Story" breakout Rachel Zegler, makes it through the bulk of the "Hunger Games" prequel, "A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," mostly intact — so does the trailer just completely spell that out?

In the trailer, fans see scenes with Lucy and a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) in what appears to be a secluded cabin ... and fans know that this a scene from fairly late in the story after the two run away to the lawless North and try and hide from the Capitol. (We won't get too specific here, but things don't end particularly well in that cabin.) Beyond that, the trailer features several conspicuous shots of vats full of snakes, and as it happens, those snakes are pivotal to Lucy's victory in the Games themselves. After Coriolanus realizes he can trick the genetically modified snakes into recognizing Lucy by her scent, she remains completely safe from their attacks in the arena — and they actually find a home in her clothing, meaning she's basically stocked with weapons for the entire Games.

The trailer for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snake features some of the book's biggest scenes — and secrets

The trailer for "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" actually reveals quite a lot about the upcoming film within just a few short minutes. Early on, it shows Lucy and Coriolanus holding hands ever so briefly, making it exceedingly clear that they'll share a romantic connection (and one that will upend Coriolanus' life and his role as the mentor to a Hunger Games tribute). They're also seen running through dark tunnels, pretty clearly from an enemy, telegraphing the fact that they'll escape from the Games safely.

One of the more surprising inclusions, though, is Coriolanus' time training with the Peacekeepers. After it's revealed that he meddled in the Games to protect Lucy, he's stripped of any privilege and power he has as a member of a powerful Capitol family and sent to train as a Peacekeeper, the authorities who, well, "keep the peace" (by any means necessary) in the poverty-stricken, highly controlled districts throughout Panem. In several scenes throughout the trailer, you can see Coriolanus' hair is buzzed short, and he's even wearing an army-esque dog tag in a handful of shots, making it very clear that his fate takes him outside the Capitol. This is also where Coriolanus reunites with Lucy after the Games ... which all leads back to that aforementioned cabin.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes features a very different victor from District 12

Anyone expecting that Lucy Gray Baird will simply be a redux of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the taciturn and hardened protagonist of the original "Hunger Games" novels, will be quite surprised — Lucy is absolutely nothing like Katniss whatsoever, despite the fact that they both hail from District 12 and are both natural-born rule breakers. Katniss, a quiet and introspective teenager, spends her time in District 12 illegally hunting and selling game on the black market in order to keep her family well-fed after her father's untimely death. After her younger sister is chosen in the Hunger Games lottery, Katniss volunteers as tribute ... and when she and her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) stage a stunt at the end of the Games that ensures they're both declared victors and spared, they find themselves in the Capitol's crosshairs for the rest of the series.

Lucy, on the other hand, is a songstress and a born performer — which, as we learn when Katniss becomes the face of a revolution, she definitely isn't. In "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," Coriolanus recognizes immediately that Lucy's penchant for showmanship can get her far in the Games, even though he does interfere to make sure she's safe from the genetically altered predators released into the arena. A lot of origin stories, prequels, and spin-offs can be tiresome, but "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" makes it clear that this is a very different tale that just happens to be set in the same universe as "The Hunger Games."

"The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" hits theaters on November 17, 2023.