When will The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes be released in Australia?

Let the games begin! The Hunger Games that is. It’s been a minute since we said goodbye to the dystopian world of Panem in 2015 with the release of The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 2, but the odds were ever in favour of the blockbuster YA SF franchise getting revived. Indeed, it has now been confirmed that The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will hit cinemas on November 16.

Director Francis Lawrence is back in the saddle again to bring us this adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel, a prequel set some 64 years before The Hunger Games. Which means we shouldn’t expect Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen to show up. We are getting yet another plucky young Tribute from District 12, though—Lucy Gray Baird, played by West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler.

She’s not the main character though; instead, we’re following the rise of ambitious young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), scion of a once-wealthy family who sees an opportunity to restore their fortunes by acting as Mentor for Lucy in the upcoming Hunger Games. Fans of the series will of course recall that things turn out pretty good for Coriolanus (for a while…), as he ends up President of Panem and looking uncannily like actor and stone cold silver fox Donald Sutherland.

Will audiences follow the rise of a future dictator? Perhaps. For all that The Hunger Games has been pilloried in some circles for being a Battle Royale rip-off (it’s not, but people will be people) what set the series apart is a degree of political nuance and moral ambiguity uncommon in the YA sphere.

Plus, the supporting cast is 100% stacked: Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schaeffer, Jason Schwartzman, and genre mainstay Burn Gorman are all up in it. We’ve only got a few short months before we find out if Lawrence and co. can rekindle the fire.