‘Hunger Games’ Brings Back Katniss Amidst Rachel Zegler Controversy

in Entertainment, Movies

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen combined with an image of Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird

Credit: Inside the Magic/Lionsgate

The Hunger Games is preparing to bring back iconic lead character Katniss Everdeen, even as Lionsgate attempts to reboot the franchise with Rachel Zegler.

The original Hunger Games movies (based on the novel trilogy by Suzanne Collins) were all colossal hits in the 2010s, with each new installment setting box office records. The movies also made a huge global star out of Jennifer Lawrence, who portrayed the rebellious heroine Katniss Everdeen in the film.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen on a fiery background with wings in Hunger Games
Credit: Lionsgate

Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss Everdeen

At the time she was cast, Jennifer Lawrence was an up-and-coming, critically acclaimed young actress, but the movies transformed her into a mega-star who could headline a multi-billion dollar franchise. Despite the presence of supporting actors Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth and reliable heavyweight thespians like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, and Woody Harrelson, it was unquestionably Lawrence’s star vehicle.

But perhaps even more than Jennifer Lawrence herself, Katniss Everdeen became a cultural icon as a new kind of female action star and symbol of rebellion. The character’s weapon of choice even inspired a trend among young women to study archery.

Related: Zegler Plans to Outperform Lawrence in ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel

‘Hunger Games’ Reboot

Now, it seems that Lionsgate wants to make sure that it can keep utilizing the Hunger Games IP, even after splitting the final book Mockingjay into two feature films.

jennifer lawrence hunger games
Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games is being re-adapted as a stage play coming to London’s West End, bringing back Katniss to theatrical audiences (per Variety). The play will be an adaptation of the titular first novel, adapted by Conor McPherson and directed by Matthew Dunster. The cast has not yet been announced.

McPherson said in a statement, “In a world where the truth itself seems increasingly up for grabs, The Hunger Games beautifully expresses values of resilience, self-reliance and independent moral inquiry for younger people especially. This is turbo charged storytelling of the highest order and I’m hugely excited to bring it to a new generation of theatre goers and to Suzanne Collins’ longstanding and devoted fans.”

Poster art for the theatrical adaptation of The Hunger Games
Credit: Lionsgate

Collins herself signed off on the production. This new stage version of the book fits with the recent trend of large studios creating theatrical adaptations or extensions of popular franchises, like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Marvel Studios’ Rogers: The Musical.

Of course, it’s not the only Hunger Games reboot in the works.

A ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel

West Side Story (2021) star Rachel Zegler is set to lead The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, a feature adaptation of a prequel novel by Collins. While it is not a traditional reboot, it is clear that the film is intended to try to bring attention back to the franchise, along with her character, Lucy Gray Baird.

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
Credit: Lionsgate

Related: Rachel Zegler’s Next Film Is Heading For Disaster, Report Claims

She will be joined by Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow (the same character played by Donald Sutherland in the original movies), as well as new characters played by Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, and Viola Davis. The film depicts the early days of the blood competition, in which Blyth’s character teams up with a Tribute. Definitely nobody is going to get betrayed there.

In recent months, the actress has come under intense scrutiny and criticism from Disney fans for both her comments on and casting in the upcoming live-action remake of Snow White. It’s really not too surprising that Lionsgate might want to hedge its bets and get a new Katniss out there too.

Will the Hunger Games prequel flop in theaters? Why are studios making these stage adaptations all of a sudden? Tell us your opinions in the comments below!

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