(Searcher) Growing Popularity in Making Film Prequels – Hunger Games, Cruella, Fantastic Beasts

Over the Thanksgiving break, I watched “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the prequel to the gripping Hunger Games trilogy, set in a dystopian world where children are coerced into battling to the death on reality TV. The film serves as an origin story for Coriolanus Snow, the eventual president of Panem and the primary antagonist of the original trilogy. More significantly, it traces the inception of the Hunger Games themselves, shedding light on how and why they came to exist. Surprisingly, the movie captivated me, possibly because I ventured in with minimal expectations, but largely because it masterfully unveils the complexities of Snow, portraying him not just as a villain but as a character layered with nuance and depth. However, steering clear of divulging further details about the film to avoid spoilers for potential viewers, I am eager to delve into the emerging trend of crafting prequels for beloved classics.

There are films like “Cruella,” envisioned as a prequel to the beloved “101 Dalmatians.” Similarly, a part of the “Fantastic Beasts” series, “The Secrets of Dumbledore,” can be viewed as a prequel to the globally adored Harry Potter saga. There is also “The House of Dragons”, A new HBO series that diverged from the “Game of Thrones” series. These cinematic narratives typically spotlight the antihero or antagonist of an immensely popular film or franchise, meticulously crafting a backstory that unravels the origins of these compelling characters. Take “Joker,” for instance, a film that, while not explicitly termed as a prequel, is intricately linked to the Batman movies, showcasing the transformation of the character into the iconic villain. The allure of these prequels often lies in the insatiable curiosity of audiences, hungry to uncover the enigmatic pasts that forged these infamous characters.

This trend highlights an intriguing aspect of storytelling where antagonists are seldom portrayed in a manner that incites pure disdain from audiences. Instead, many films have ingeniously sculpted their villains with shades of complexity, evoking multifaceted emotions and occasionally even empathy. The conflicts depicted in these films transcend the simplistic notions of right and wrong, echoing the thematic intricacies seen in recent movies like “Do the Right Thing.” Such films challenge viewers’ perceptions, compelling them to navigate morally gray areas and prompting introspection into the nature of good and evil.

In the realm of these prequels, what often sets them apart is their ability to humanize characters often painted solely as antagonists. They invite audiences to explore the psychology and motivations that drove these individuals toward their darker paths. The appeal of these films is not merely in demystifying the backstory of villains but in exploring the catalysts that transformed them. The intricate portrayals offer a glimpse into the vulnerability, struggles, and moments of choice that shaped these characters. The journey from innocence to malevolence, peppered with moral dilemmas and societal influences, creates a captivating narrative that challenges conventional perceptions of heroism and villainy. This trend exemplifies the evolving complexity of storytelling, blurring the lines between good and evil, and in doing so, engaging audiences in narratives rich with depth and introspection. This made me realized that writing of characters are so important – the goal is sometimes to have the audience relate to each and every character instead of one perfect hero otherwise the story will just become flat.

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