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Through the Pages: Mockingjay Chapter 18

Chapter-18

Hello everybody and welcome to the next installment of our Through the Pages series! As usual it took us some time to get this together, thanks everyone for your understanding and for always looking forward to these installments and poking at us every once in a while as a reminder. Once again as a show of appreciation, we’ll be posting two chapters up today: if you haven’t yet read our predictions for Chapter 17, be sure to start there! 😀

In anticipation for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, we will break down the second half of Mockingjay with our predictions on what will make it to the big screen and what will be left behind on the cutting room floor. Don’t forget to comment with your own predictions and speculation so that we can come back and examine who got what right or wrong!

Spoiler warning! Through the Pages involves a lot of book discussion, so if you haven’t yet read Mockingjay then proceed with caution, particularly now that we’re entering the true climax of the story. Or, better yet, go read the book and then come back and join in!

Synopsis

Katniss and Johanna continue training, and eventually they are allowed to take a test to determine if they’re allowed to go to the Capitol. Part of the test consists of a simulation run in which they target each soldier’s individual weaknesses. As Katniss goes through the Block, she realizes they think her weakness is her inability to follow orders, so she does and passes the test. She is assigned to Squad 451, which is Boggs’, and taken to Command, where Plutarch explains the layout of the Capitol and how it’s littered with pods designed for the Hunger Games, with the intention of unleashing traps and horrors on anyone who steps on them.

After the meeting, Haymitch tells Katniss and Finnick that Johanna didn’t pass her exam because they doused her with water, which is how they tortured her in the Capitol and so it made her lose her composure. Katniss goes to visit her, bringing her a few boughs of pine that she hopes will remind Johanna of her home in District 7. Johanna makes her promise to kill Snow.

Plutarch tells Squad 451 that they will not be in the front lines directly, but instead they will be the “on-screen faces of the rebellion.” The Squad is not happy, and Katniss resolves to split off on her own so she can kill Snow. She says goodbye to Prim and they set off to the Capitol. There’s not much to do for a few days, but then Leeg 2 steps on a mislabeled pod and is killed. The next afternoon, her replacement arrives in the form of Peeta, and Katniss realizes this is Coin’s indirect way of trying to kill her.

Ciara

I don’t know how much of the training will feature before they head to the fight in the Capitol but I hope there’s a lot of it. If she’s going to storm Snow’s mansion single-handed they have to make Katniss a complete soldier in very little time. You know what that means: We’re gonna need a montage! (couldn’t resist). You can cram most of the action in Chapter 18 in to a montage of Katniss training, Gale training, Peeta being introduced to training, Johanna having difficulty in water situations and later, Squad 451 showing off their combat skills and sharp-shooting. I’d hope to see Katniss’ final exam in which the military try to suss out her weaknesses in a full intense scene but perhaps the filmmakers just want to get her to the Capitol as soon as possible.

We know the scene in which their first horrific realisation that the Capitol will be like the arena is already included (or at least its in the trailer). And I’m very thankful that they included the line about the 76th Hunger Games and it certainly works with Finnick saying it. And for efficiency, I think this scene and when Squad 451 are told their role will be as propo stars will be combined in one scene rather than separated with training in between as in the novel. The real question though is how much of Philip Seymour Hoffman can we expect to see in these scenes. I love Plutarch in this chapter, he’s the perfect character to explain the gamemaker touches, the role of Squad 451 and their accompanying film crew and the importance of Peeta being visible as a rebel even though his mental state should keep him far, far, far away from guns. Heartbreaking though it is to face, only sitting in the cinema will we see how much of Hoffman will be in Mockingjay Part 2. We already know that Paylor described the pod situation with chilling conviction and Haymitch could step in to fill some parts with a slightly different tone. I hope the moment when Katniss questions Plutarch on the logic of training Peeta is included for the point when she walks away after he brings up the suggestion of filming them reuniting. Perhaps Effie or Cressida could fill that role.

Aside from the action in Chapter 18 there is plenty of touching and important character interactions. I loved the little friendship between Katniss and Johanna and I’m betting that Katniss stripping the tree of pine needles and giving it to her in the hospital will be in the film. And God I hope their lines are verbatim because it’s such a touching moment, beautifully written and stirring too when Johanna makes her swear to kill Snow. When you have as excellent a character as Johanna and the perfection of Jena Malone playing her, why wouldn’t this scene be in the final cut?

There is also the (brace yourselves) last time that Katniss talks to Prim. Yeah, you already know. It’ll be in there. And it’ll hurt. It’ll hurt worse than when Rue hugged Katniss before she went to blow up the Careers’ supplies in The Hunger Games.

I’m not sure how much of travelling from District 13 to District 12 to the rebel base camp will be included but perhaps Paylor describing the pods will be here rather than before they leave 13. I think we need Katniss to verbalize her plan of stealing the Holo from Boggs, going rogue and heading for Snow. Clearly Gale would be the perfect character to confide in as he trusts her and would be angered at being used as a poster boy rather than the fighter he’s craved to be.

I also don’t know how much of the limited combat Squad 451 will see before the arrival of Peeta. We can see Leeg 2 stepping on the pod trigger in the trailer but I’m guessing that might happen after Peeta’s arrival. But most importantly, hopefully enough has been built up to show poor Soldier Mellark as an extreme danger to Katniss prior to his assignment to 451. The audience needs to know Coin’s motives. So perhaps we’ll see a 13 board-meeting with her deciding that Katniss being a martyr will be a huge help to give the revolution one final push.

Lines I hope make it:
Haymitch: “As many young and attractive victors as possible. So, no. We’ll be here.”

Prim: “How do you feel?”
Katniss: “Better, knowing you’re somewhere Snow can’t reach you.”
Prim: “Next time we see each other, we’ll be free of him. Be careful.”

Jennifer

In this chapter, Katniss and Squad 451 are briefed on the invasion of the Capitol and deployed. This is also our last interaction with Johanna.

I’m curious if the films will include Johanna’s character in the epilogue, giving her the ending that the books never did. She’s been such a memorable character, I think it would be hard not to wrap up her story. So I do hope that her plea to Katniss to kill Snow is not the last we see of her. We’ve seen Jena Malone in a hospital gown in the trailer so this could be that scene.

In the briefing about the military invasion of the Capitol, we also get Finnick’s quote of “Welcome to the 76th Hunger Games.” This line gave me chills in the book and I was excited to see it in the trailer. I can’t wait to see the context of this scene and how they will explain the idea of “Capitol streets = Arena.”

Lastly, we get Squad 451’s surprise when Peeta shows up as a replacement solider. I hope that we get this moment, as I think the shock and anger on the group’s faces will be fun to watch. I’m curious if they will play up the idea that this move proves Coin doesn’t care if Katniss lives or dies.

Lines I hope make it:

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the 76th Hunger Games begin!” (Already made it!)

“It’s your own fault for being camera-ready.” – Katniss

“Next time we see each other, we’ll be free of him.” – Prim to Katniss (Endless tears…)

Carla

Much like Ciara, I doubt a lot of the training will make it in. This is mainly because the idea of D13 building a Capitol city block simulation makes me think of Men in Black and I really don’t think it’s appropriate to have this scene in my head when I watch Mockingjay Part 2, but hey. xD I admit, I kind of like the idea of the filmmakers emphasizing the fact that Katniss cannot take orders, but I honestly don’t think it’ll be included, as it takes time away from other, more crucial scenes.

By now we’ve seen in the last trailer that it’ll be Paylor and not Plutarch who explains the Capitol layout and the pods. Part of me feels like this might be one of those scenes they had to switch around due to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely passing, which makes me sad, but apart from that I’m actually glad for the change; I’ve always felt they needed to include Paylor more, that way her position at the end of the book makes more sense and is not as surprising. I am also STOKED that they included the “76th Hunger Games” line because that might be, hands down, my favorite line in the entire book (bless you, Strong/Craig!).

I don’t think Haymitch will be the one to deliver the news about Johanna– I think that’ll be Johanna herself, in an attempt to give her more screen time. (I will be sad to see the “young and attractive victors” line go, though. Such a Haymitch line!). Johanna will make Katniss promise to kill Snow, though we probably won’t see the pine tree pouch. The introduction of the rest of the Star Squad will probably be quick, given how little air time they’ve had on the trailers. I do wish Plutarch’s declaration of the Star Squad’s mission makes it in, because it’s almost like a flashback to CF!Plutarch in how “Gamemaker”-ish he sounds (which I love), but after Mockingjay Part 1 I’m not sure that’s the impression they’re trying to make with his character, so right now I’m leaning more towards cut.

Katniss’ goodbye to Prim will most definitely make it in, probably verbatim. Because hey, foreshadowing. A lot of the latter part of the chapter will probably be cut for pacing (wandering around the Capitol doing nothing for a day or so isn’t particularly cinematic), but of course Leeg 2’s death by the pod will be the turn on switch. I’m not entirely sure how they’ll handle that one pod and perhaps a couple others in the future (I don’t think they can show someone getting pierced in the head by a metal dart in a PG-13 movie), but I’m thinking they’ll either change it to something less harsh/more sci-fi-ish, or use some good ol’ editing to tone it down. I’m very interested to see this, because I don’t think we’ve seen discretion shots of this nature since probably the first movie.

And then, of course, Peeta’s arrival. I expect to have Katniss’ last thought in this chapter– that Coin wants her dead– to be voiced out loud in the movie, because it’s too good not to. I don’t know if Katniss herself will say it, or if it will be Gale, Finnick, or perhaps Boggs, but it definitely needs to be said.

Lines I hope make it:

You have to kill him, Katniss.” –Johanna

“Ladies and gentlemen…”
“Let the Seventy-sixth Hunger Games begin!” –Finnick & Katniss (I think I like the movie version of this better already).

“Next time we see each other, we’ll be free of him.” –Prim

About Ciara McIntyre

Ciara works as a Script Supervisor, part-time film reviewer and full-time cinematic nerd.
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