19 Ways 'Mockingjay, Part 1' Is Different from the Book
The movie stays very faithful to the book, but there are a few differences.
When it was first announced that Mockingjay would be split into two movies, critics called out Lionsgate for milking the franchise for all it's worth. And while that might be true, the two-movie treatment has allowed director Francis Lawrence to stay remarkably faithful to the book. There are differences between Mockingjay, Part 1 and the book, but not many, and most are fairly insignificant in the big picture. But never-the-less, we're here to document as many of the deviations as we can. If you're as obsessive as us, hopefully you'll appreciate the effort.
#1. They start in different places
In the Book: We open with Katniss standing amid the ruins of District 12. She fills us in on how she got here. She says she made it a condition of her cooperation that they taker her to District 12 first. On the third page, she describes her technique for fact-checking reality, running down an ever-more-complicated list of things that are true.
In the Movie: We open with Katniss reciting her list of things she knows to be true while hiding in what appears to be a ventilation duct. In the book she mentions having several hiding spots, and this must be one of them. She quickly gets dragged out, drugged, and placed back in her hospital bed. It takes close to 10 minutes for her to get to District 12 in the movie, after Plutarch explains to President Coin that it’ll remind Katniss who the real enemy is. So in the book the District 12 visit was Katniss’ choice, but in the movie, it’s a way to manipulate her into being the Mockingjay.
#2. The movie isn’t tied to Katniss’ perspective
In the Book: All three Hunger Games books are told in first person from Katniss’ perspective. We don’t see what anyone else is doing when she’s not around.
In the Movie: Like Catching Fire, Mockingjay, Part 1 brings us new perspectives. Not only do we see what Plutarch and Coin are up to, but also what President Snow is doing. This means we get to see Snow ban the Mockingjay icon and watch his granddaughter kind of shamefully start removing the long braid in her hair — the same braid that became fashionable in the Capitol because of Katniss.
#3. Katniss Watches Peeta’s First Interview in the Cafeteria
In the Book: Katniss and Gale are on their way to dinner when Gale gets a message on his communicuff for the two of them to head to Command. From there they watch Peeta’s first interview with Caesar Flickerman, so Katniss is around District 13’s most powerful when she watches Peeta call for a cease-fire, making him seem like an enemy to the rebels in 13.
In the Movie: Katniss and Gale make it to dinner and watch the interview from the cafeteria. So instead Katniss is there when the lower ranks of 13 decide Peeta is a traitor.
#4. District 13’s High Command Is a Smaller Clique
In the Book: Whenever Katniss meets with High Command, it’s in a room that’s described as being full of people including Coin, Plutarch, Fulvia, Boggs, and other District 13 officials.
In the Movie: Usually she’s just meeting with Coin and Plutarch. Fulvia’s not even in the movie.
#5. Katniss’ List of Demands Gets Trimmed
In the Book: On Prim’s suggestion, Katniss writes out a list of demands. If she’s going to agree to be the Mockingjay, then she wants a few things. On that list are five things: 1. Prim gets to keep Buttercup. 2. Katniss and Gale get to go hunting. 3. Gale will stay at her side whenever possible. 4. Peeta and the other Tributes will be granted immunity. 5. Katniss kills snow.
In the Movie: Prim suggests the demands just like in the book, but this time, Katniss only demands two things. First, that Peeta and the other Tributes will be granted immunity. And, almost as an after-thought, that her family can keep Buttercup.
#6. Effie Is in 13, But Not Fulvia or the Prep Team
In the Book: Effie disappears for almost the entire book, putting in an appearance near the end. The only remnants of the Capitol in 13, besides Plutarch, are his assistant, Fulvia, and Katniss' prep team: Venia, Flavius, and Octavia. Katniss is horrified when she discovers Venia, Flavius, and Octavia being held prisoner in the book. They've been chained up in a room and they're treated terribly even after Katniss insists they shouldn't be kept as prisoners.
In the Movie: Shortly after Katniss delivers her list of demands, Plutarch takes her to see Effie, who is sewing a new pink dress in her quarters, angry that she's being forced to live so minimally. Fulvia and the prep team are all kind of combined into Effie in the movie, except she's tougher than any of them. She actually stares down President Coin at one point. This decision means we don't get to see the cruelty that District 13 is capable of, but it does keep the story moving, and Elizabeth Banks is so good as Effie that I was happy to see her onscreen instead of Fulvia, whose absence goes mostly unnoticed.
#7. Effie Tells Katniss Cinna Is Dead
In the Book: Katniss assumes Snow killed Cinna, but it's never confirmed.
In the Movie: Effie comes right out and says it.
#8. Effie and Haymitch Kinda Flirt
In the Book: Nothing. There was never any hint of anything flirty between these two.
In the Movie: Haymitch is talking about how to get a decent propo out of Katniss, and asks the room to remember a time when Katniss genuinely moved them. Effie makes a couple of suggestions and Haymitch says, "You know, I like you better, Effie, without all that makeup." And she replies, "I like you better sober." It's kinda flirty, but not overtly. Check it out below and see what you think.
#9. Finally! An Avox!
This is actually the same as the book, but I thought it was worth noting that in the third movie, they finally use the word "avox" when Katniss meets Pollux. It was weird that they skipped over the whole avox thing in the first two movies.
#10. The Bombing of District 8
In the Book: Katniss is sent to District 8 for the sake of a propo that will show her interacting with the wounded there. As she's about to leave with her District 13 team, Capitol hovercraft show up and start bombing the place. Haymitch explicitly tells Katniss they think the raid was already scheduled and that it wasn't her presence that brought on the bombing. Katniss fights back, and she and Gale end up taking down about five hoverplanes.
In the Movie: We switch perspectives to see President Snow watching Katniss on surveillance footage from District 8. He sees the makeshift hospital she visits where everyone gives her the three-finger salute (the salute didn't happen in the book). He decides to bomb the hospital because he's outlawed all Mockingjay iconography as treason, and these people have just committed treason. When he sends in the bombers, we don't see as many of them, but we do see Katniss take out two with one arrow.
#11. Katniss Sees the Propo in Public
In the Book: Katniss and Gale didn't return from District 8 unscathed. They were both treated that night in the hospital wing, and the next morning they saw the propo for the first time during a Command meeting. By that time the video had already been played 18 times on Capitol airwaves.
In the Movie: Before the video airs on Capitol airwaves, it's shown to the people of District 13, who assemble in a gigantic hall to see it. The video is almost exactly as its described in the book, but after it's over Coin holds Katniss' hand and raises them together in victory.
#12. We See District 7 Fight the Peacekeepers
In the Book: We're told the districts are rebelling against the Capitol, but we don't really see it.
In the Movie: One scene shows District 7's army of lumberjacks (seriously, an army of lumberjacks) scurry up trees to flee from the Capitol's Peacekeepers. Once they're up in the trees, they set off a series of bombs to take down the white-clad enforcers.
#13. Katniss Doesn't Kill the Deer
In the Book: When Gale and Katniss get clearance to go hunting around District 13, they bag "a mixed dozen — rabbits, squirrels, and turkeys." They bring back the game to be added to the food supply. Katniss mentions that the "animals here are not suspicious enough," but that doesn't stop her from killing them.
In the Movie: When they go hunting they come across a buck who just stares at Katniss with her bow drawn. She notes that they've "never been hunted before," and puts down her bow.
#14. Gale Doesn't Butt Heads with Boggs
In the Book: Gale gets in Boggs' way twice. First, he blocks Boggs so Katniss can run away and hide after seeing Peeta's first interview with Ceasar Flickerman. The second time is when Katniss and Gale climb to a District 8 rooftop to fight the Capitol's bombers. That time Gale kicks Boggs in the face on his way up the ladder, breaking Boggs' nose. This leaves him wearing a plastic flesh-colored mask for a while after.
In the Movie: Gale and Boggs barely interact, and neither of those things happen. This also means Gale never loses his Communicuff.
#15. Gale Reacts to Peeta's Second Interview
In the Book: Katniss sees Peeta's second Caesar Flickerman interview while alone with Finnick. They immediately turn off the television and pretend they didn't see it when Plutarch and Fulvia arrive to check on them. This sets up some tension between Katniss and Gale when he doesn't tell her about the interview, and Katniss decides he's keeping it from her.
In the Movie: She sees the interview with Gale, who immediately calls Peeta a "coward."
#16. No 'We Remember' Propos
In the Book: The District 13 rebels made "We Remember propos to celebrate fallen Hunger Games tributes.
In the Movie: They only make the one Propo from District 8, though they do have some other footage they use later.
#17. The Storming of the District 5 Hydroelectric Plant
In the Book: We know the Capitol at some point begins to suffer from power outages, and we know District 5 is the one that's devoted to power. But Suzanne Collins never wrote a scene showing the unrest there.
In the Movie: About halfway through the movie we get this awesome set-piece with this gigantic hydroelectric power plant where the rebels storm a dam, plant several bombs, and bring the whole thing down. It's kind of amazing. And as soon as the dam breaks, the lights go out in the Capitol.
#18. We Get to See the Rescue Team
In the Book: A small strike team is sent into the heart of the Capitol to rescue Peeta and the other Tributes being held prisoner there. It's a pivotal moment in the book that we don't get to see because the book is tied to Katniss' perspective. Boggs later tells Katniss it was too easy to rescue Peeta.
In the Movie: We get to see the strike team, including Gale and Boggs, go to work. They fly into the Capitol, wear night vision head sets, gas the guards, and advance methodically through the compound. It reminded me an awful lot of Zero Dark Thirty, and it's pretty awesome. A new wrinkle is thrown into the mix, though, which brings us to #19.
#19. Katniss and Snow Have a Little Talk
In the Book: Beetee distracts the Capitol by playing a propo in which Finnick spills all kinds of sordid secrets about President Snow and other prominent people in the Capitol.
In the Movie: They still use Finnick's secrets to distract the Capitol from the rescue mission, but in the movie the lights come up in the darkened Capitol just when the strike team is getting close to Peeta and the others. Then the Capitol takes control of the airwaves so Katniss opens a line of communication. They put a camera on her, she looks into it and succeeds in getting President Snow to talk directly to her. Smiling all menacingly, Snow reminds Katniss of what he's said before, "It's the things we love the most that destroy us." Then he reveals he knows the strike team is in the Training Center. So this time it's pretty explicit. Snow definitely let them get out of the Capitol with Peeta. When they get back Gale confirms it.