A superfan’s guide to what really matters in ‘Mockingjay: Part 1’

Finally, after months of anticipation The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 arrives in theaters on Friday! Maybe you were like me and devoured the books as quickly as you could, or maybe you’re new to this whole world of Panem and are left wondering what all the fuss is about. For a quick recap: the Capitol is bad, Katniss is fierce, and things are about to get very interesting. This is the beginning of the end for the Hunger Games trilogy, but Katniss is just getting warmed up. This last film, Mockingjay, is being split into two parts, so don’t worry, you don’t have to deal with Hunger Games film withdrawal just yet.

Mockingjay will easily be the biggest film of the series, even though Katniss and company are finally out of the Hunger Games dome, and back into their real world, on the brink of an all out rebellion between the districts and the Capitol. I know, it’s heavy stuff. But, it’s also incredibly exciting to see a little bit more of Panem, the Capitol and exactly how this whole saga will end.

Here are the things I’m most looking forward to in Mockingjay:

District 13

The HUGE location change in Mockingjay brings everyone to the — “supposedly” — destroyed District 13. That’s a lie. It’s still up and running and in a secret peace treaty with the Capitol: neither one will attach of they just ignore the other. The Capitol destroyed everything above ground in the District, and everyone retreats underground to live. It’s easy to assume that the District has simply been wiped fromt he map.

In my mind, I always picture District 13 as a fully operational underground Death Star, in the sense that it’s completely self sufficient, and completely mysterious. Mockingjay will give us our first taste of what’s been hidden away all these years.

Julianne Moore as Coin

Coming hand in hand with District 13 is its president, Alma Coin, who is played by Julianne Moore. She is both powerful, and terrifying. I promise I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read the books, but she plays a huge role in the rebellion, and in Katniss’s future.

Peeta wearing white after Labor Day

One of the major conflicts of Mockingjay is the fact that Peeta has been captured, and subsequently brainwashed, by the Capitol. While the rebellion might have her as their figurehead, the Capitol is using Peeta in the same way, but they’ve actually turned the boy with the bread against her. This breaks Katniss in so many ways, and will probably break us, too. It’s the beginning of “real, or not real?” Bring your tissues.

The age old “Peeta or Gale?” debate

While Gale is a major character in the books, he really takes a backseat through most of the story, you know, because he’s not actually a tribute in the Hunger Games. But now, with Peeta trapped at the Capitol, Gale comes into the limelight as an actual fighter alongside Katniss. Then, as usual, that YA romance kicks in, and suddenly you’re in a room full of grown adults, debating which boy is better for our Girl on Fire.

Natalie Dormer’s half-shaved head

As if we need more reasons to love Ms. Natalie Dormer, she joins Mockingjay as Cressida who is basically a guerilla documentary filmmaker. She flees the Capitol to document Katniss through the rebellion, all while basically putting out propaganda footage for the Districts. But that’s neither here nor there. Dormer was all-in to shave her head for the role, but her and director Francis Lewis decided a half-shaved look would be better. I think it looks great. Give me three to four years to muster up the courage to try that style myself.

Where Part 1 is actually going to end

Mockingjay is the biggest book of the group, so it makes sense to split it into two halves to completely tell the story. So, where does it split? That’s be what we find out when we crowd the theaters to see it. According to USA Today it’s a “well-crafted emotional cliffhanger” which can be narrowed down to basically any moment in the book. It makes me nervous thinking about when it ends, and then knowing I’ll have to wait a whole year to see the second part. Ugh.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)