The latest entry in the Hunger Games franchise might take place before the events of the previous films – but director Francis Lawrence reckons it would still make sense for viewers to watch the original movies first.


The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes tells the origin story of future Panem President Coriolanus Snow before he started down a villainous path, with Tom Blyth taking on the role that was made famous by Donald Sutherland.

And asked during an exclusive interview with which order newcomers to the franchise should watch the films in, Lawrence said that while he thinks "it could work either way", he would recommend starting with the originals.

"I will say, I think part of what's fun is if you hadn't seen any of the movies, or read any of the other books, you can watch this story and, I think, find it engaging and find it fulfilling as a standalone movie."

But he added: "I think if you've seen the other movies... part of the fun of this one is there's so many elements that are sort of the origins of things – the origins of characters, the origins of character dynamics, the origins of songs we know from the other one, you know, a lot of little Easter eggs.

"[So] it might actually be better to watch this one after [the originals], if you've never seen them. Because I think you'll just have this other level of enjoyment of feeling the origins of things."

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While that might be the preferred order, Nina Jacobson – who has produced each instalment in the franchise – said that it was important to the filmmakers that the movie was accessible to both newcomers and old fans.

"It was really important to us to not be so presumptuous as to assume that everybody will have seen the original movies," she explained.

"It's been great, because of the Netflix release, to see how many new fans and new people were discovering the movies.

"But we want this movie to work if you know nothing about the books or the movies, but you know that it is worthy of a trip to the cinema."

She added: "What we also wanted to make sure [is] that if you are a fan, that there was like a whole bunch of stuff for you to find and enjoy, and Easter eggs and origin stories and details. So that we could serve both."

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is released on 17th November 2023. Check out more of our Film and Sci-Fi coverage, or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what’s on tonight.


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