The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes: Rachel Zegler Gives Us A Look At The Set Of The Hunger Games Prequel

Just because Katniss Everdeen led a revolution to end the Hunger Games, doesn't mean that our time in the dystopia of Panem is over. Following the massive success of Suzanne Collins' YA novel adaptations, it was only a matter of time before Lionsgate seized an opportunity to get the blockbuster franchise up and running again. Thanks to Collins penning a prequel novel, we now expect to return to Panem in 2023, this time for the 10th annual Hunger Games. With the film still in production, it'll be a while before we anything beyond a brief teaser — but there's always the promise of behind-the-scenes treats! This time around, our latest look at the film comes courtesy of the newest Panem heroine herself, Rachel Zegler.

The prequel, "The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes," is set 64 years before the events of "The Hunger Games" and tells the story of 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth). Zegler is set to play Lucy Gray Baird, the female tribute from District 12, to whom Coriolanus is assigned as a mentor. Much like our original Panem heroine Katniss Everdeen, Lucy wins the heart of the country through her rebellion, when she defiantly sings during the reaping ceremony. If her song gets half as much use as the phrase "I volunteer as tribute," then "The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes" will be a rousing success.

Beyond a brief teaser and lots of top-tier casting news, we haven't learned much more about the production of the film — but Rachel Zegler is stepping in to change that. The young actress recently took to social media to give fans a closer look inside the production of the prequel.

A look inside The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes

On Thursday, Zegler hosted a TikTok tour of the "Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" set, giving us our first glimpse at what the prequel film holds for fans of the franchise. Highlights include Peter Dinklage donning all-black as the Hunger Games creator Casca Highbottom and Tom Blyth going full-on method actor as the future tyrant, Cornelius Snow. (Throwing coffee cups at costars is the first step on one's path to dictatorship.) You can check out the short TikTok video below:


i volunteer as tribute ✋ here’s a first look on set of #TheHungerGames The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 🕊️🐍

♬ Au Revoir – Sweet After Tears

The video takes us through the set pretty quickly, but eagle-eyed viewers will notice some very exciting tidbits about the upcoming story. For one thing, much of the video sees Zegler and her co-stars on a set that is most likely a schoolroom for The Academy, the elite Capitol school that Snow attends. We even see some students donning their blood-red uniforms, poetically stark against the porcelain-colored set. The footage also features a clip of Blyth and Ashley Liao (who plays another student and mentor, Clemesia Dovecote) dancing together. 

"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" is exactly the kind of affair that demands some real social media buzz behind it — not just because of the YA roots and the full force of a franchise behind it (though that certainly helps) but because it also boasts a star-studded cast. Zegler herself is hot off her star-making debut performance in Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story," and will be joined in the film by Blyth, Liao, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jerome Lance, Knox Gibson, Mackenzie Lansing, and Aamer Husain.

"The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" is slated to hit theaters on November 17, 2023.