The Hunger Games franchise, based on Suzanne Collins’s wildly popular young adult dystopian trilogy, is not done yet with its upcoming The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie. This next film for the franchise isn’t a continuation of the first four movies and has a specific place in the chronological Hunger Games movies’ watch order if you prefer the mythos in a more organized manner.
A decade after its cinematic debut, the series still holds sway over audiences, and anticipation is building for the release of the prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. With all the films now available for streaming and a new addition on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to revisit Panem and explore the ideal order in which to watch these gripping movies.
We volunteer you as tribute in this Hunger Games marathon.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Expected: 2023)
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is set to be released on November 17, 2023, means the Hunger Games universe will expand further. This prequel promises to offer insights into the origins of the Hunger Games and the early years of Coriolanus Snow, the future tyrannical President of Panem.
Francis Lawrence assumed the directorial role once more, and featuring a talented cast featuring Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis, this film is highly anticipated for its potential to draw parallels with the original series while exploring new facets of the dystopian world.
The plot also paints a rather grim and disheartening picture of how Snow was already evil as early as his teenage years.
However, given the movie’s still several weeks away, you can forgive yourself if you skip ahead to the original Hunger Games trilogy.
The Hunger Games (2012)
The actual journey begins with The Hunger Games (2012), a film that catapulted Jennifer Lawrence to stardom for her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen. In this dystopian society of Panem, where the Capitol reigns supreme, and the districts suffer, Katniss volunteers to replace her younger sister as a tribute in the brutal Hunger Games.
There, several teenage participants will compete in a life-and-death battle royale game for the entertainment of the elite (and also to seemingly nip impending rebellion).
Directed by Gary Ross, this film introduces viewers to the heart-wrenching reality of this merciless competition and sets the stage for Katniss’s transformation from a reluctant heroine to a symbol of rebellion.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Continuing the saga, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) follows Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as they face the consequences of their defiance in the previous Hunger Games.
Without spoiling anything, the two sort of ‘cheated’ the system in order to survive, and this was seen as an act of rebellion. As punishment, the tyrant, President Snow, pulls them back into the yearly Hunger Games as repeat contestants.
Directed by Francis Lawrence, this installment delves deeper into the politics and propaganda surrounding the Hunger Games. The tributes from the previous victors’ pool face new challenges in an even more intricate Arena, while the sparks of rebellion ignite throughout Panem, inspired by Katniss and Peeta’s indignation.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (2014)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (2014) picks up the story as Katniss finds herself in District 13, the elusive center of the rebellion. Needless to say, she managed to escape the Capitol’s clutches and the previous Hunger Games.
In District 13, she is asked to become the “Mockingjay,” a symbol of hope and revolution against the Capitol’s tyranny.
Again, directed by Francis Lawrence, this installment delves into the complexities of war, propaganda, and media manipulation. While it serves as an essential narrative bridge, it’s the quiet before the storm, setting the stage for the epic conclusion.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 (2015)
Finally, the thrilling culmination of Katniss’s journey unfolds in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 (2015). As the rebellion escalates, Katniss and her allies embark on a perilous mission to the Capitol itself, resulting from years of preparation and sacrifices of the oppressed masses.
This film, also directed by Francis Lawrence, brings the series to a decisive and unflinching climax. It’s a story of courage, loss, and the harsh realities of war and revolution. While it may not deliver an entirely happy ending, it remains a fitting and poignant conclusion.
That’s one heck of a coming-of-age story. It’s a perfect analogy for what teenagers are going through today, though it’s a different kind of battle royale for everyone.
The Importance of Watching in Order
To fully appreciate the rich narrative and character development in The Hunger Games movies, it is essential to watch them in order. Each installment builds upon the events of the previous one, providing a cohesive and immersive viewing experience.
The emotional depth and growth of Katniss Everdeen, as portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, is a central aspect of the series, and watching in order allows audiences to witness her transformation from an unwilling teenager to a mature revolutionary.
You can place The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes at the beginning of the watch order or the end; either way works.
The Phenomenon Behind the Franchise
The Hunger Games franchise, both in literature and film, has left an unforgettable impact on popular culture. Suzanne Collins’s trilogy achieved critical acclaim and became a bestseller, while the film adaptations captivated audiences worldwide—especially with its portrayal of brutality.
The decision to split the final book, Mockingjay, into two films was supposedly not merely a financial move but also allowed for a more in-depth exploration of the source material.
This creative choice, while aimed at maximizing box office returns, resulted in a more comprehensive and faithful adaptation of the story. It provided an opportunity to dabble into the political and emotional complexities of the narrative, allowing fans to experience the characters and their struggles more deeply. It also prevented the story from feeling rushed.
The Hunger Games franchise has proven its enduring appeal, both in literature and on the silver screen. With its memorable and relatable characters, thought-provoking themes, and thrilling action sequences, it remains a must-watch for fans of dystopian fiction and compelling storytelling.
Come November 17, 2023, prepare your Mockingjay pin, grab some popcorn, and embark on a cinematic journey through the captivating world of The Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor, and may this Hunger Games movie watch order help.