So far, those in charge of the Mockingjay movie have been doing a really good job. The Panem propos as marketing tools have really made the book come to life. But since we all know only part one is coming out this November, we're left wondering, where will Mockingjay Part 1 leave off? As a pretty big fan of The Hunger Games series, I know where I would prefer to have the film end. Spoilers ahead: I would have the first film leave off right after Finnick and Annie's wedding.
A lot of people are suspecting a more dramatic cliffhanger will be chosen, like when Peeta gets brought back to District 13 and instead of hugging Katniss, he chokes her. That would certainly be a gasp-inducing ending, but I hope the director worried less about suspense and more about the fans when keeping the ending in mind. We have to wait a year between Parts 1 and 2, so it's only fair that we get to end on something happier before having to wait 12 months for the resolution.
So let me paint my end scene of choice for you: Finnick's wedding takes place almost exactly halfway through the Mockingjay book and marks a really cool coming together of all the citizens in District 13. Author Suzanne Collins writes:
Dancing transforms us. We teach the steps to the District 13 guests ... join hands and make a giant, spinning circle where people show off their footwork. Nothing silly, joyful, or fun has happened in so long.
Then, the couple's wedding cake is wheeled out and Katniss immediately knows Peeta, the baker's boy, has done the icing. The scene is described in the book as such:
Most of the guests back up, making way for this rarity, this dazzling creation with blue-green, white- tipped icing waves swimming with fish and sailboats, seals and sea flowers. But I push my way through the crowd to confirm what I already knew at first sight ... the frosted flowers on the cake were done by Peeta. This may seem like a small thing, but it speaks volumes ...the boy I last saw screaming his head off, trying to tear free of his restraints, could never have made those. Never had the focus, kept his hands steady, designed something so perfect for Finnick and Annie.
It's a really monumental scene tucked into the pages and perhaps easy to overlook. But it could end up being exactly what Mockingjay Part 1 needs. It comes after Peeta has already been delivered to District 13, but is on his path to recovery. As watching hijacked Peeta in 30 second trailers is hard enough, I'd rather end the movie seeing him trying to get better than being in the middle of the worst of it.
I imagine this is how it would play out on screen:
We’ll get to see the lovely ceremony and the dancing, and then they’ll wheel the cake in and Katniss will see the frosting work. She'll touch one of the petals and whisper “Peeta" and Haymitch will come to her side and tell her, “He says he’d like to see you, sweetheart.”
Then Jennifer Lawrence will look at him with the amazing mix of shock/disbelief/fear/and delight that she's so good at portraying, and the scene will fade out, so we can wait for Part 2.
Certainly it won't make it any easier to wait a year for the conclusion, but it's a happier, more hopeful place to end on. And after all, bringing hope is the whole point of the mockingjay.