7 Major Differences Between The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes And Its Source Material

7 Major Differences Between The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes And Its Source Material
Image credit: Lionsgate

Here's what to expect if you haven't seen the movie yet.

When Suzanne Collins released a prequel to her The Hunger Games trilogy in 2020, fans already knew that Lionsgate was working on an adaptation.

More than three years later, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is topping the box office in its opening week, earning praise from audiences for its compelling story, fun nods to the original franchise, and brilliant performances from Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler.

Many fans note that the movie is very much in line with the book. But of course there are some changes made in the adaptation. If you've read Collins' novel but haven't made it to the theater yet, here are seven major differences between the new movie and its source material.

1. Reduced timeline

The story in the book is quite slow-moving, so it would be quite difficult to translate to the screen as it is. In the movie, the timeline is greatly shortened, with mentors and tributes only getting one session before the Games, and some events being skipped altogether.

2. Coryo and Lucy's relationship

In the novel, Coryo and Lucy kiss for the first time during their last mentoring session. But since the amount of time they spend together is reduced in the movie, Zegler's Lucy goes to the games with their relationship still up in the air.

3. Clemensia's arc

In the book, Ashley Liao's Clemensia Dovecote is killed by Dr. Gaul's mutant snakes, but in the movie she survives and returns as a Games mentor to play a major role in the final showdown.

4. The 10th Hunger Games

The Games themselves are very different from how they are described in the source material. The Capitol can see everything that happens in the arena, as opposed to the glimpses of moving tributes in the book. In addition, the deaths of many of the tributes have been changed, and the moment of the taming of the snakes comes at the end of the Games instead of in the middle.

5. The Covey

In the book, Lucy's traveling music group, The Covey, plays a big role in Lucy and Coryo's lives. In the movies, however, they exist as a background to the main story, and only Vaughan Reilly's Maude Ivory Baird is given a name.

6. Erasure of the Games

In the novel, Viola Davis' Dr. Gaul makes sure that all footage and existing evidence of the 10th Hunger Games is erased from existence, which explains why, 64 years later, no one knows who the first District 12 victor was. In the movie, however, this is changed and Gaul simply announces that the Games have been extended for another year.

7. Missing characters

There are a few book characters missing from the movie. Both Lepidius Malmsey and Pluribus were cut from the screen story and their plot lines were given to other characters. In addition, the parents of Josh Andrés Rivera's Sejanus Plinth appear only briefly in the film, which diminishes Coryo's inevitable betrayal.

If you have both read and seen The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which one did you like better?