Post-apocalyptic young adult literature series like Divergent and The Maze Runner have successfully made the jump to big screen franchise in recent years, but The Hunger Games remains by far the most successful modern YA sci-fi novel-turned film property, from both a critical and commercial perspective. The ‘Games’ will conclude in 2015, though, with the second half of the two-part movie series finale, as is titled Mockingjay – Part 2 (or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, as it’s fully titled).
Story-wise, Mockingjay – Part 2 picks up right after Part 1‘s cliff-hanger ending – as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) prepares to help lead the organized Panem rebellion in a direct assault against the Capitol and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Meanwhile, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) struggles to recover from being psychologically traumatized by The Capitol.
The second Mockingjay installment, like Part 1, was adapted from Suzanne Collins’ source novel by screenwriter Peter Craig (The Town) and Danny Strong (Empire), and directed by Francis Lawrence (the helmsman on the Hunger Games movies since Catching Fire). Lawrence and his cast/production team completed pick-up photography/reshoots for Mockingjay – Part 2 over this past weekend at the time of writing this (as the director noted on Twitter), so it seems appropriate for the movie’s first full-length trailer to have only just dropped online. You can watch it, above.
Footage-wise, the Mockingjay – Part 2 trailer features quieter scenes (a wedding, tender moments between Katniss and Primrose (Willow Shields)) juxtaposed with glimpses of action and/or set pieces that ensue as Katniss and her fellow rebels invade the Capitol directly. The trailer also indicates that Mahershala Ali’s Boggs will play a more significant role here than he did in Mockingjay – Part 1 – and we get our first look at Game of Thrones‘ fan-favorite Gwendoline Christie as Commander Lyme!
Mockingjay – Part 2 was made by the same people as Part 1, so it’s not surprising that the trailer points to the Hunger Games movie finale boasting the same level of quality filmmaking craftsmanship as its predecessor. This installment will also be loaded with payoffs to the longest-running character plot threads in the previous Hunger Games films (including Katniss’ relationships with Peeta and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth)), and more compelling political intrigue that involves Snow’s would-be successor, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) – assuming the movie doesn’t stray too far from Collins’ original book and its bittersweet tone, anyway.
Mockingjay – Part 1 was criticized for being too much slow-burn build-up, so it’s plausible that Part 2 will (respectively) come off to many as a rush of action and narrative payoffs – too much so, that is. On the other hand, after the third installment spent a fair amount of time banging the battle gong (without delivering much combat), a Hunger Games film that unfolds as a non-stop war thriller may provide the sort of emotional catharsis that fans have been waiting for since Mockingjay – Part 1 was first released.
Either way, if you’ve followed the tale of Katniss Everdeen thus far, then you’ll want to check out the dramatic conclusion (one which may or may not end Hunger Games franchise in general too).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opens in U.S. theaters on November 20th, 2015.