Lucy Gray is a member of the Covey, a group that had, before the war, roved the country as a musical clan. We’ll spare you most of the details. what is important is that, when her name is called at the reaping, Lucy Gray’s loved ones support her with a song. She joins in, suppressing her tears and fortuitously convincing Snow of her potential. Though she is not prepared for the Games in the way Katniss was, she’s more clever than most presume, and her unique vision of freedom dela gives her (and maybe Snow?) Something to fight for.
Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow
Tigris Snow, soon to be portrayed by euphoria‘s Hunter Schafer, is one of the few characters to appear in both the main series and the prequel—though we wouldn’t fault you for forgetting her. in mockingjay, Tigris is a Capitol ally who looks like, well, a tiger. Face tattoos, whisker implants, you name it. She’s the owner of a small boutique, and she cares for and feeds Katniss’s squad while they are on their quest to assassinate the president. in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, it’s revealed that the president is her cousin. Tigris acts as both a confidante and foil to Coriolanus for much of the novel, with her better instincts at odds with her burgeoning ruthlessness.
Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth
Snow is, obviously, not the only mentor in the 10th Hunger Games. Josh Andrés Rivera (another West Side Story alum) will portray Sejanus Plinth, another foil to the future president. The Plinth family is not Capital-born; rather, they are “new money,” having made their wealth during the war. Having been raised in District 2, Sejanus has a moral compass that most of his classmates lack. Despite that, he and Snow form a genuine, if not slightly contentious, friendship.
Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom
Casca Highbottom is both dean of the Academy and the man credited with creating the Hunger Games. As such, he personally oversees the mentorship program that Snow and his classmates partake in—though he’s noticeably a shell of the man he once was. Peter Dinklage (game of Thrones, Cyrano) will portray him in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul
If Lucy Gray is the angel on Snow’s shoulder, Dr. Volumnia Gaul is the devil on his other. Gaul, who will be portrayed by Viola Davis, is the Head Gamemaker and mastermind behind the Capitol’s experimental weapons division. (Think Wes Bentley‘s Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games, or Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire—but with a much more imaginative mean streak.) Like Highbottom, Gaul is closely involved with the mentorship program.
What’s going to happen?
though The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is being touted as a “return to the Games,” you shouldn’t expect a survival thriller in the vein of The Hunger Games. The Games depicted in the prequel are far from the futuristic, awe-inspiring spectacles we’ve already seen onscreen. In fact, they take place entirely in a condemned amphitheater.
But, without giving too much away, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is less about the Games than how they became a phenomenon. The story starts before the reaping and continues after a victor is crowned. It takes us through the Capitol, into the arena, and, yes, back to District 12. There are gnarly deaths (hey, Panem hasn’t changed that much) and plot twists likely to make your head spin. But at its core, it is a story of privilege, of exploitation, and of power. It is the story of Coriolanus Snow. And you already know the ending.