Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. (Photo Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate)

May the odds be ever in your favor. The forthcoming Hunger Games prequel, titled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is welcoming a star-studded cast to the Capitol in the official first-look that was released this week. West Side Story actress Rachel Zegler will star as Lucy Gray Baird while The Gilded Age’s Tom Blyth will star as Coriolanus Snow in the adaptation based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.

Joining the starry cast also include Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, and Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage. In more news, Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis has just been announced as the film’s Head Gamemaker.

Viola Davis attends the red carpet during the 14th Rome Film Festival on October 26, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images)

Set 60-some years before we knew Coriolanus Snow as the despotic President of Panem (played by Donald Sutherland), The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes introduces him as the 18-year-old heir to a once-illustrious family that has lost its power in the post-war period, played by Blyth.

In preparation for the 10th annual Hunger Games, Snow is tasked with mentoring Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler), a tribute from the poverty-stricken District 12, where Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen was from in the original story.

After Lucy Gray sings during the reaping ceremony in protest, she captures the attention of all of Panem, leading Snow to believe they may be able to tip the odds in her favor. Fusing their political prowess and instinct for strategy, Snow begins to develop feelings for Lucy Gray as they fight to survive.

While Davis will portray the film’s arch-villain Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Schafer has been cast as Coriolanus’ cousin and ally, Tigris Snow, and Dinklage will play the accidental creator of the Hunger Games, Casca Highbottom.

Vanity Fair was the first to release the new imagery, depicting Snow and Lucy Gray romantically lounging on a blanket in the grass, holding hands and looking up at the sky. In speaking with the outlet, director Francis Lawrence revealed, “This is very much a story about love. It’s the kind of love story set in a different kind of a world in a different time. A very intimate love story.”

Producer Nina Jacobson told the publication of Snow, “He is a young man finding his way in the world, but he also makes choices that presage the man he is becoming. He is a shapeshifter who craves control, but is drawn to a woman who threatens everything he thought he wanted.”

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to premiere on November 17, 2023.

thoughts?