What will become of Panem in the exciting conclusion of The Hunger Games saga? People in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con were hungry (get it?) for answers. Luckily, there’s a whole huge panel of people to discuss it. Director Francis Lawrence, who took over the franchise with Catching Fire, held court with stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and Willow Shields to show exclusive clips and never-before-seen footage of the hotly anticipated final chapter, Mockingjay – Part 2.
Four guys in white jumpsuits and hats marched out and unveiled tympani drums and began thumping a march. To say it echoed through the massive Hall H is understatement. Then up from the back came a whole white-clad drum core. The epicness is overwhelming.
We were then treated to a clip of similarly white-wearing soldiers doing gun routines while Katniss marched between them, looking all red and whatnot. “Stand With Us,” the slogan then said.
Moderator Conan O’Brien came out to a sea of applause and cheers. One guy wanted to fight him because he was Team Josh, but then couldn’t back it up. He will also be shooting the whole panel on his iPhone, he says.
Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson took the stage first, followed by Willow (Primrose) Shields, Liam (Everybody Screamed for Him) Hemsworth, Josh (Peeta) Hutcherson, and Jennifer (Katniss Everdeen) Lawrence.
Jacobson says the journey bringing the franchise to the screen has been emotional and she wants to deliver on the feeling and politics that author Suzanne Collins put in the books. They wanted it to be satisfying in theme, character, and story and also keep it satisfying for everyone involved.
Director Lawrence says this movie is where Katniss gets back into action going after Snow and some exciting battle footage…and the first full trailer!
The trailer starts with a shot of a burning capital city, and Snow has been watching Katniss. Panem looks cold. “The Game is coming to its end.” Shots of people getting ready to march into the capital, all of the Districts. Lots of marching up to the capital in the final Hunger Games ever. Buildings blow up, people give the three-finger salute, things explode. Katniss says “Tonight, turn your weapons to the capitol. Turn your weapons to Snow.”
That was SUPER AWESOME.
O’Brien says they don’t even need a movie now; just show that trailer four times in a row.
Production for this movie moved from Atlanta to Europe for the Capitol locations in Paris and Berlin to create a new environment, and director Lawrence says it was fun and challenging work.
Jennifer Lawrence can’t think of a favorite moment of Katniss, but the rest of the cast tries to help her think of one. O’Brien says he won’t be blamed for the questions as they were written by Lionsgate.
Peeta wasn’t Katniss’ “biggest fan” at the end of the last movie, where does he go? Hutcherson says Peeta’s going to be rehabilitated for good. Jennifer says “You couldn’t resist THIS for long.”
Gale is heavily in the mix now, and part of the uprising. Liam and Conan say they have a bare-chested brawl every time he comes on Conan.
Shields tells us that Primrose has evolved to be much more grown up and is looking out for Katniss, more mentality than physically. She started when she was 10 and now she’s 15, so she grew up along with the character.
Conan was angry at Primrose for going to get the cat in the first part of Mockingjay. HASHTAG CONAN CAT HATE.
Josh, Liam and Jennifer have hilarious banter and make fun of each other, while Jennifer wipes her nose with the table cloth.
On the final day, everybody “cried and held each other and slept like puppies,” says Jennifer Lawrence.
Shields would live in District 12, but Conan would live in President Snow’s palace.
Hutcherson would like to see the story from Peeta’s point of view, or from any of the other characters.
If Hemsworth could meet Gale, he’d say “It’s all right, mate, there’s plenty of fish in the see.”
If Jennifer Lawrence could keep any of the outfits from the films, she’d pick the wedding dress “because it’s understated,” or the wetsuit.
She also doesn’t know how to braid her own hair. Fun fact.
Can you do the Mockingjay whistle all together? Every time Liam tries, it comes out the X-Files theme. Josh can make cricket noises, and Conan says he hears that when he tells jokes sometimes.
Going back to film the epilogue months later was fun. Jennifer said something about a nephew and then looked like she said something wrong. Strange.
Josh Hutcherson rules the mic!
How is the epilogue different in the movie from the book? Director Francis Lawrence thinks that people who love the end of the book will love the movie.
Did any of the characters Jennifer Lawrence played rubbed off on her? “The drinking in American Hustle.” She’d hope that a little bit of Katniss rubbed off, even though they’re not at all similar, because Katniss is brave “and I’m…an actress.”
What were the challenges faced in adapted the part of the book between the climax and epilogue? Jacobson: “In the book, Katniss doesn’t know much about what’s going on around her. You can’t leave your hero passively in the dark, waiting for news. So we found a way to stay with her…stay rooted in her point of view. And then let an authentic emotional response evolve. Finding a balance, taking the time between real emotion and the catapulting of the ending.”
Director Lawrence: “Less of a challenge, more of a journey. To be able to sit with Katniss and watch her put herself back together was really interesting to me.”
What are you guys going to miss the most? Hutcherson: “You’re looking at it.” Everybody goes AWW and Jennifer and Liam pet Josh on the face.
What do they hope fans take away from this last movie? JLaw: “I’m soooo baaaaad at thiiis.” She later says it’s about hope and empowerment. She was about to say people should risk their lives, “Pump pump pump, pump pump the brakes.”
Jennifer doesn’t feel like she’s had to say goodbye to Katniss yet. The changes that happened in her life were so permanent that she doesn’t feel like she’ll ever say goodbye.
How does the characters’ attitude change change the way they play the character? Hutcherson: “Peeta goes crazy.” He had to yell at people, which he doesn’t do very often. Lawrence: “I remember feel frustration in Katniss’ hesitation about being a hero. As I kind of grew with her, I realized how real and powerful her hesitation was, to start this war, because it doesn’t always solve problems…” then she forgot what she was talking about.
Conan has been asked to ask us if we want to see the trailer again…we all said yes. It was awesome all over again.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will hit theaters November 2015.
Thanks for reading along with my Mockingjay Part 2 Hall H live blog. Check back all throughout SDCC 2015 for more panels, interviews, and original content from your pals at Nerdist.com.