The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was almost two movies

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
Snow and Lucy in Ballad of Songbirds and snakesLionsgate

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was almost split in two, but The Hunger Games proved why this was a bad idea.

In the early 2010s, the young adult dystopian genre permeated the book and movie worlds. One of the biggest and best successes to come from this time was The Hunger Games, set in a world in which children are forced to fight each other to the death in an arena created and run by the oppressive and controlling Capitol society.

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The franchise expanded in 2020 when author Suzanne Collins released a prequel novel. This book, titled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, focuses on the early life of the original books’ villain, President Snow. The book proved to be popular among fans, so popular in fact, that it’s now getting its own movie adaptation.

Said movie is almost here, and now its director, Francis Lawrence, has since revealed that there were plans to follow in the footsteps of the original franchise by splitting the movie into two parts.

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Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes almost followed Mockingjay’s footsteps

Lawrence recently admitted that he contemplated splitting the movie in two, following in the footsteps of the two Mockingjay flicks in the original Hunger Games film series.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lawrence said that he thought about it, but ultimately decided against that route, explaining: “There was, like, one second where I thought, ‘Do we do two movies?’ I decided, no, we’re not going down that road again.”

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Lawrence has already revealed regret at his choices for Mockingjay, the third and final book of the series which was split into two parts in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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This trend of splitting young adult series into two movies was kickstarted by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2010-2011, and is considered to be the best of its kind. Both parts of the final story were critical and financial hits. However, movie franchises that attempted to follow suit floundered: Twilight: Breaking Dawn did okay, the Divergent series was cancelled prior to its finale, and the Mockingjay finale saw the poorest box office returns and critical reception of the franchise.

Since The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a single novel, and separate from the rest of the series, keeping it as a single movie seems like the best idea. However, considering how jam-packed the book is, this movie is set to be the longest film in the franchise so far, with a runtime of over two and a half hours.

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In an interview with us here at Dexerto, the director describe how he cut the long book into one movie: “Obviously when you fall in love with a book and a story, you sort of wanna get as much as you can in it. But even knowing that we were gonna do a long movie, and we knew it would be a long movie cause it’s the longest book, you know there’s gonna be attrition, and you just have to decide what’s most important and let some of the other things fall away.”

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will hit cinemas on November 17. Find out more here, and check out more of our Hunger Games coverage below:

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About The Author

Lucy-Jo is a Movies and TV Writer at Dexerto, and has previously written for Screen Rant and Girls on Tops. After earning a Master's Degree in Film and Literature, Lucy-Jo now loves covering films, TV shows, and anime, especially if it's something by Mike Flanagan, or anything drenched in camp. You can contact her at lucyjo.finnighan@dexerto.com