'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Casts A Role Not in The Books, So How Will It Affect The Story?

The latest casting news in the Hunger Games saga may come as a surprise to avid fans: Mockingjay has cast a role that does not exist in the books. Actor Robert Knepper will play the minister to Panem president Snow (Donald Sutherland), a character that isn't even alluded to in Suzanne Collin's trilogy. Knepper is set to appear in both Mockingjay films, so it's safe to say his role will impact the story in some aspect.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has crushed the box office and given zero doubt that Mockingjay will do the same, was exceptionally faithful to the book. Those who saw the film and hadn't read the books lamented about the film's abrupt ending, but faithful readers crooned in unison: "that's how it ended in the book!" So it's a bit surprising that the third book, which will be divided in two for the big screen (the new standard in Hollywood trilogies), would add an otherwise nonexistent character. While we don't know what consequences this character will have on Katniss, Gale, and newly captured-by-the-Capitol Peeta, I trust in this addition.

The reason for my support of the inclusion, is because of a scene the first Hunger Games film. I have always said that the Hunger Games films are one of the few book-to-screen adaptations that are actually better than their page-turning counterparts. I found Collins' books dry, but put to screen under the direction of Gary Ross and then Francis Lawrence, translated to heart-felt and nail-biting films. In the first flick, a scene was crafted out of the pure genius of the writers' minds: After Rue has tragically been killed, we are taken out of the arena and shown the reaction of District 11 watching the death of their young tribute televised. A single man begins to lash out. He pushes through the crowd and begins to enact his rage by way of revolution. Others follow, and while the district is eventually contained by Peace Keepers (ironically named for their violent ways), this gorgeous scene shows the rippling effect of Katniss's simple compassionate deed, and the power of the people.

This scene, in my opinion, elevated the film from good to great. So I trust those involved in Mockingjay to make the character addition worthwhile. The studio announced the casting via twitter on Wednesday:

Other characters that have been cast for the last films include Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer and Lily Rabe. But hold onto your arrows, Mockingjay Part one isn't slated to hit theatres until November of next year.

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