WATCH: ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Trailer Gives Us a Rachel Zegler We’ve Never Seen Before

Lead Photo: Lionsgate
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The first official trailer for the prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes debuted online Thursday (April 27) and fans of the franchise seem excited to see what Rachel Zegler (Shazam! Fury of the Gods) can deliver in the lead role as Lucy Gray Baird.

Based on the 2020 novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, Songbirds & Snakes takes place years before Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) becomes the tyrannical President of Panem. In the prequel, Snow is an 18-year-old young man assigned as a mentor to Lucy, a tribute for the 10th annual Hunger Games from District 12. “Enjoy the show,” Zegler posted on Instagram alongside the trailer.

The trailer begins with the introduction of Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage), the man who created the Hunger Games, talking about how the process works just as Lucy is chosen as one of the tributes for the annual competition. A defiant Lucy steps toward the front and performs a curtsy. Casca then tells Snow that his role is to “turn these children into spectacles, not survivors.”

When Snow tells Lucy that it’s his job to “take care” of her, Lucy responds by telling him that the way he can start is by thinking she actually has a chance at winning. Later, we watch as Lucy begins her fight in the arena and shares her philosophy about the goodness of mankind with a close-cropped Snow. It’s clear that they’re setting up a romance between these two characters. But it’s a doomed one as we know the monster that Snow becomes. And this movie acts as a platform for him instead of one for her, which is truly disappointing in the long run.

Viewers also get a chance to see Josh Andrés Rivera (West Side Story) as Sejanus Plinth, a friend of Snow, who is also serving as a mentor. “You’re monsters!” Sejanus screams out during a scene in the trailer. “All of you!” Rivera is the real-life boyfriend of Zegler.

Fans online were excited to see that the trailer features Zegler showing some parallels to the original film.

Others were excited that Zegler gets to continue her epic start to her Hollywood career as The Hunger Games pushed Jennifer Lawrence into the spotlight.

A young woman who said she was an extra on the film even chimed in to share her experience watching Zegler on the set, who will be singing as Lucy is part of a traveling band that got stuck in District 12 when the Capitol decided that dividing the districts completely was the only way to control them.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, starring Rachel Zegler, premieres at theaters nationwide on November 17, 2023.