Producer Nina Jacobson reveals one death in The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes that is vital to Coriolanus’ descent into pure evil.
The prequel to Hunger Games is based on Suzanne Collins’ book of the same name, featuring a young Snow and narrates his early life and the circumstances that make him the notorious President we all know.
The film also introduces us to some of the other iconic students of the Capitol Academy, like Sejanus Plinth, who is ultimately betrayed by Snow, which lands him in prison and is finally sentenced to death.
In an interview with People, Nina Jacobson explains why Sejanus Plinth’s storyline and subsequent death are essential for Snow’s character transformation.
The fiasco leads to a feeling of loss inside the villain’s heart and takes him to the point of no return from the nefarious path of becoming a supervillain. Read what she said below:
Had Sejanus not died, had he not borne the weight of that death — no matter what happened between him and Lucy Gray — he might not have turned out the way that he did. He doesn’t own what he does in the way that [Lucy] does. There’s that moment afterward in the barracks where he falls apart, where he does own it for a moment, and you can see how unbearably painful it is to live with the knowledge of your sins and how much easier it is in a way to justify and rationalize them.
Hunger Games is a violent series filled with major character deaths and revelations throughout its plot. However, Sejanus Plinth’s death hits us differently because of the sheer nature of the character.
In many ways, Plinth acts as a foil to Snow’s subsequent villainy and tries his best to uphold the prestige and better the lives of the districts.
As an ex-member of the districts, Plinth was rich and could’ve chosen to settle with his wealth and not care. However, he chose always to follow the hard path to uphold the perspective of the Capitol.
As Snow spirals into the path of pure evil, Plinth is the only character left with an ounce of humanity. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the viewers not to root for him, and we hope that he comes out alive despite being on the Capitol’s radar.
However, the brutal nature of his death and Snow’s betrayal leaves a permanent mark in the minds of the fans. This begs the question of its necessity in the plot.
To this end, Jacobson makes a compelling argument and suggests that Snow wouldn’t have been the Snow we know today if Sejanus Plinth were alive.
Indeed, Plinth’s murder is the darkest thing that Snow commits in the prequel because he subsequently takes advantage of the Plinth family’s kindness after being responsible for his death.
This truly begins the paradigm shift of Snow from an ambiguous to a purely dark character in the series. Though tragic, Sejanus Plinth’s death is thus the single biggest turning point and catalyst in Snow’s descent into darkness.
About The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is an upcoming film based on the book of the same name by American author Suzanne Collins. It is a spin-off and a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy.
The film adaptation from Lionsgate is expected to release in late 2023 or early 2024. Director Francis Lawrence will return to direct. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are returning as producers. Collins and Michael Arndt will adapt the screenplay.
The dystopian action-adventure novel follows 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who is chosen to mentor a tribute in the upcoming 10th Hunger Games.