Rebellion Burns Its Way Into The Battlefield: The Districts go to war with the Capitol in “Part One” of the final “Hunger Games” movie

Kaila Young, A&E Editor

Mockingjay
From left, Gale Hawthorne (Hemsworth), Finnick Odair (Claflin), Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson), and Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) represent the Districts in the rapidly approaching war. The Capitol is represented by the brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), President Snow (Sutherland), the brainwashed Johanna Mason (Malone), and a peacekeeper.

The highly anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s final “Hunger Games” novel, “Mockingjay,” is out in theatres today, and this time around the bloody battles won’t be confined to the arena.

The “Hunger Games” takes place in the post-apocalyptic United States. It is now known as the dystopian nation of Panem, which consists of 12 Districts “united” under the Capitol.

Every year, the Capitol selects two tributes from each District, one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18, to fight to the death on national television in some form of a sadistic arena.

As is expected, the Districts are all very upset that their kids are being killed off.

In the 74th Annual Hunger Games, depicted in the first of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers as the female tribute in order to save her younger sister Primrose (Willow Shields).

Katniss ends up beating the Games by outsmarting the Capitol, and she inadvertently becomes the catalyst that sparks the Districts into rebellion.

In the film “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which was released last November, Katniss ended the Quarter Quell (the 75th Annual Hunger Games) with a bang when she destroyed the arena’s force field with a single arrow.

She barely managed to escape with her life and was forced to leave behind love interest Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) to be captured by the Capitol.

In “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1,” fans can expect to see the star-crossed lovers separated once again and fighting for their lives.

But instead of in a new arena, Katniss spends the majority of her time in District 13 (previously thought to be destroyed), where she will be forced to step back from the front lines and to act as the face, or symbolic mockingjay, of the rebellion.

During this time, she experiences a period of teenage angst in which her confident and courageous demeanor generally goes up in smoke.

Meanwhile, the Capitol is torturing Peeta.

Fans have no doubt wondered, and perhaps even worried about, how the dramatic conclusion to the “Hunger Games” will transfer onto the big screen.

No movie will ever be a perfect representation of its book, but fans seemed to have been satisfied with director Francis Lawrence’s work in “Catching Fire.”

Hopefully fans will likewise be satisfied with how “Mockingjay” turns out, which Francis Lawrence also directed. He claims to have added several scenes to “Mockingjay” in order to enrich the storyline, but he did not specify which scenes.

“[We took] the opportunity to show scenes that could have been happening at different times in the book,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

This technique was also utilized in “Catching Fire” when Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) meets with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to discuss how to handle Katniss and the Games.

Because the “Hunger Games” is Katniss’s first-person account of events, the audience would not have been privy to scenes such as this if not for Francis Lawrence thinking outside the box.

But Francis Lawrence hasn’t changed everything.  Most of the cast from the previous movies has returned for these final installments.

Expect the return of Katniss’s backup love interest Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Peeta and Katniss’s drunken mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), their spunky Capitol adviser Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), and fellow victors Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone).

Prominent new cast members include Finnick’s love interest, the mentally traumatized Annie Cresta (Stef Dawson, briefly shown in “Catching Fire”) and President Snow’s possible replacement, President Coin (Julianne Moore).

Neither Annie nor President Coin have much of a role in the novel, but Francis Lawrence claims to have included more of them in the movie, even adding some character development not otherwise found in the book.

Most of these characters will also return for “Mockingjay, Part 2,” but Plutarch Heavensbee (Hoffman) will not.

Hoffman died on Feb. 2 in New York at the age of 46 from “combined drug intoxication.” He had a history of drug abuse when he was a young adult, and he relapsed in 2012 after many years of sobriety.

Fans were primarily concerned about how his death would affect the filming of “Mockingjay,” as  Heavensbee takes on a lead role in these final installments.

But it was later reported that Hoffman had completed his scenes in “Mockingjay, Part 1,” and that there were only seven days left of filming for “Part 2.”

“There was very, very little that was left,” Francis Lawrence told USA Today. “Even if [Hoffman] had a number of days left, most of those moments were appearances in other scenes. Most of his dialogue was done.”

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, there was “one major, emotional scene” remaining that Hoffman had not finished filming.

Lionsgate, the producing company behind the movies, claimed that computer-generated imagery (CGI) technology would be used to complete that final scene, which gave fans nightmares of bad robotic or digital representations of Hoffman.

But it was later promised that only real footage would be used and that there would be no use of CGI.

“We had to rewrite the dialogue scenes that he had left and there’s no question that shooting those scenes is painful without him,” producer Nina Jacobson, told the New York Daily News.

In that one scene, some of Hoffman’s lines will go to Effie or Haymitch where it makes sense, and the rest will be done using editing tricks with lighting and sound, like “conversations where you’re not focusing on him but the people he’s talking to.”

Whatever the case, Francis Lawrence promises the movie will live up to Hoffman’s legacy.

As is evident by its name, “Mockingjay, Part 1” will follow in the footsteps of recent movies whose last installment is split into two parts: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts One and Two,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Parts One and Two,” and (announced on April 11) “The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Parts One and Two.”

Now that splitting the final movie is officially trending, fans have been left to speculate where “Mockingjay, Part 1” will leave off.

Jennifer Lawrence hinted to MTV News that fans are “going to be pissed” about the ending.

So wherever “Part 1” ends, it’s safe to say that director Francis Lawrence will leave fans desperate for more.

But since “Part 2” comes out exactly one year from today (Nov. 21, 2015), relief will be a long time coming.