The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Get ready to dive back into the gruesome world of The Hunger Games.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a new movie set in the Hunger Games universe, based off of the Suzanne Collins prequel novel of the same name. Taking place decades before Katniss Everdeen volunteered, the film follows the rise of an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), who is assigned to mentor District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) for the 10th annual Hunger Games.

Ahead, find everything you need to know about the new project.

Related article: Jennifer Lawrence Says She Used to “Get Stoned” with Her Hunger Games Costars After Premieres

The movie is coming to theaters in 2023.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will officially be released on November 17, 2023.

Scholastic Press The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The story will illuminate how President Snow came to be Panem’s tyrant.

The film takes place 64 years before the events of the original Hunger Games.

The official synopsis describes the film as following “a young Coriolanus who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a postwar Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.”

The cast is star-studded, with Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth starring as the main characters.

Rachel Zegler (who previously starred in West Side Story) will play Lucy Gray, while Tom Blyth (who has starred in Scott and Sid and Benediction) will star opposite her as Coriolanus Snow.

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus.
Photo: Lionsgate

More A-list actors are also attached to the project, with Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow, and Jason Schwartzman as Lucky Flickerman. Others in the cast include Burn Gorman, Fionnula Flanagan, Ayomide Adegun, Ashley Liao, Isobel Jesper Jones, and more.

Francis Lawrence returns to the Hunger Games universe.

Lawrence—who previously directed Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 from the original franchise—has returned to helm the prequel film.

The screenplay was written by Michael Lesslie and Michael Arndt. Meanwhile, Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins is one of the executive producers, alongside Mika Saito, Jim Miller, and Tim Palen.

The first trailer shows Panem rebuilding itself after the end of the civil war.

The first trailer for the film, which dropped on April 28, shows Panem in the throes of recovery after suffering through the end of a bloody civil war that had decimated the country. At this point, the annual Hunger Games is still a relatively young production, with the country about to reap tributes for its 10th-ever game.

The film also hints at Coriolanus and Lucy Gray’s mentor-mentee relationship. “There is natural goodness built into all a us,” Lucy tells the young future president at one point. “We can step across that line into evil—or not.”

This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.