Based on its debut trailer, released Thursday, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes looks like a deserving, very long-awaited follow-up to the beloved YA sci-fi/dystopian/thriller/action/what-have-you franchise. It’s got that retro-futuristic production design; it’s got close relationships put through the wringer; it’s got cute, talented teens forced to do very horrible things.
The cutest and most talented of those teens is Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), this prequel film’s Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence)-type figure. Set 64 years before the original Hunger Games story began, Songbirds and Snakes will follow young Lucy, a wandering musician, who is thrust into the 10th-ever Hunger Games. She’ll join up—and fall in love—with young Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow (Tom Blyth), who fans will recall as the villainous president in the future-set story.
Now that we got all that plot stuff out of the way, we can focus on the really important info here: the names of all these new characters. If The Hunger Games was known for anything, it was the fierce love triangle between Katniss, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But that sentence alone should tell you what the franchise was also well-recognized for. Those names are truly absurd! Katniss? Gale??? Peeta???????? And that’s just three of the iconically strange names affixed to our hungry heroes throughout the series.
Songbirds and Snakes ups the ante with even more unbelievable character names. I truly have to commend author Suzanne Collins for her diverse creativity here; she pulls bizzaro names right outta her butt and makes them work super well.
As a guide, we’ve ranked every major character in the upcoming film’s name, from least weird to most. Get ready for some wacky monikers.
Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler): This is almost absurd in how normal it is. But I would not be shocked if you know a Lucy Gray Baird in real life.
Grandma’am (Finnula Flanagan): The actress’ name is far more unique than her character’s nickname. Miss Finnula plays Coryo’s grandma, appropriately called Grandma’am. I’m more of a “Nana” girl when it comes to Grandma titles, but to each their own.
Commander Hoff (Burn Gorman): This guy runs the peacekeepers group in District 12, the part of Panem that Lucy is chosen to defend in the Hunger Games. Again, the actor’s name is more eye-catching than his character’s.
Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman): Now we’re getting into murky waters. I know more dogs named Lucky than humans, but I am positive there are some human Luckys out there. And we gotta give a shout-out to Titus Lucretius Carus, Mr. Flickerman’s likely namesake, an influential Roman poet. Also, I’m a big fan of Lucky Flickerman’s vibe in the trailer—we love Hunger Games host-era Jason S.!
Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow (Tom Blyth): Lucy’s love interest and the future horrible president of Panem’s name is one that I’m used to, as a Hunger Games fan. I’m not sure how we’re expected to sympathize with the hot teen version of a sadist that threatens the lives of our beloved Katniss and her loved ones, but somehow, Songbirds casts him as a hero. That said, I had a teacher growing up named Mr. Corio, so Snow’s nickname gives me some nice nostalgic feelings.
Tigris Snow (Hunter Schafer): Obsessed with Hunter, obsessed with Tigris (Coryo’s cousin and Katniss’ future ally), obsessed with all of this. But it does absolutely sound like a character name that would be used in a Harry Potter fanfic circa 2007.
Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage): Highbottom makes me laugh, and it kind of sounds real. I’ll give this Hunger Games co-creator a point for that. But Casca? Nah, that’s weird.
Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis): Gaul is responsible for forcing the citizens of Panem to participate in the Hunger Games, and she presides over the one featured here. I have no freaking clue as to why someone would name their child Volumnia, but I’m a big fan of Gaul as a last name; it throws us back to Julius Caesar’s life and famous writings. Collins was definitely a Latin nerd in high school, and so was I—to quote Caesar, ”Gallia est provincia omnis divisa in partes tres, quorum unam incolunt Belgae,” y’all.
Sejanus Plinth (Jose Andrés Rivera): Coryo’s bestie is also the owner of one of the strangest character names I’ve heard in a long time. I’m not even totally sure how to pronounce this one. Help?
Clemensia Dovecote (Ashley Liao): Not only is Coryo’s other bestie kind of a binch—she looks down upon the participants in the Hunger Games, holding herself in extremely high regard—this poor woman’s name is the worst of the batch. It is clearly the result of Suzanne Collins throwing darts at a board covered with random items. Her darts hit “clementine” and “dove” when she was creating Clemensia, and thus, here we are. Terrible, albeit perhaps deservedly so.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters Nov. 17, where we can enjoy hearing people seriously yell “Volumnia” and “Highbottom” to our delight.