Dark Scenes That Were Left Out Of The Hunger Games Movies

The Hunger Games movie adaptations were wildly successful in every sense of the word. Combined, they made over a billion dollars at the box office, and the films garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Despite being faithful to the books, hardcore fans of the original young adult series know there was some dark material left out of The Hunger Games adaptations.  

Things left out of The Hunger Games adaptations didn't warp or tarnish the source material, but sinister details from Suzanne Collins's trilogy - like even more child violence, addiction, and starvation - would have likely pushed the franchise into R-rated territory.

Sometimes, it's best not to know the disturbing details left out of movie adaptations, but those who count themselves as District 13 supporters may be interested to see how the film adaptations differed from the much darker books.

If the movies are your favorite version of the story regardless, be sure to also take a look at our list of shows and movies like The Hunger Games.

  • Katniss Murders A Stranger In The Capitol

    In one of the more random and harrowing acts of violence in the original version of Mockingjay, Katniss and her allies are hiding out in the Capitol when they come upon what appears to be an abandoned house. When a woman surprises them by calling for help, Katniss shoots her on instinct. 

    Although it's understandable why the filmmakers didn't want to include this moment for fear of what it would make the audience think about Katniss, it is a key moment in the novel. This scene shows just how much the uprising against the Capitol has changed Katniss, and how polarized the people on both sides have become. 

  • Peeta Kills Someone In The First Round Of The Games

    Peeta Kills Someone In The First Round Of The Games
    Photo: The Hunger Games / Lionsgate

    Peeta is portrayed as Katniss's less militant foil in the books and the films. This is why it is so significant in the first novel when he intentionally and knowingly murders someone.

    After the Cornucopia, Peeta teams up with the "career tributes." At one point, Peeta is sent back to finish off a girl whom Cato stabbed with a spear. Katniss watches him do it from a distance, and although he doesn't do it enthusiastically, he does do it.

    One could argue Peeta did this out of mercy, given the girl was already going to die, or as part of his long game to protect Katniss, whom he was trying to keep away from the other tributes. Both are probably a little but true, and eliminating this scene from the movie reduces both the sense of confusion Katniss initially feels about where Peeta's loyalties lie and the sense of guilt that would surely haunt the sensitive Peeta throughout the rest of the series. 

  • Katniss Almost Dies Of Dehydration

    In the first Hunger Games movie, Katniss pretty much kicks butt as soon as she steps into the arena. But in the book, she has a much harder time of it initially. She struggles to find water for almost two days, nearly dying in the process. In the movie, she finds water almost right away, getting off to a significantly easier start. 

  • Katniss Is Almost Burned To Death

    The final battle between the Capitol and District 13 is just as important to the movie version of Mockingjay - Part 2 as it is to its source material, and Katniss is an active participant in both. However, while Katniss is badly burned in the movie, her wounds aren't as severe and lasting as they are in the book. Collins describes her flesh as sensitive, permanently scarred, and often bleeding. 

    It's the trilogy's final, cruel irony, that in the end, the "Girl on Fire" becomes a burn victim. 

  • The Mutts Are Genetically Engineered Recreations Of The Fallen Tributes

    Just like in the book, Katniss and Peeta face giant gentically engineered wolf-dogs at the end of their first Hunger Games. What the movie doesn't include is that these mutts are given the same eyes as the Games' fallen tributes. One of the mutts kills Cato, and Katniss and Peeta are forced to take shelter in the Cornucopia as they listen to him being torn apart. 

    The dogs in the movies are still monstrous, but they're wiped of the genetic tinkering that gave them their human qualities in the book. While this may feel like a small detail, it does a lot to illustrate the utter disrespect and cruelty the Capitol shows to these children they've forced to kill each other for sport. 

  • People Who Try To Escape The Capitol Are Killed Or Turned Into A Tongueless Avox

    Early in the first book, Katniss and Gale watch helplessly as a young man and a red-headed girl get abducted by one of the Capitol's hovercrafts. The man is killed instantly, but not before he is impaled with a giant harpoon. More troubling is the fate of the girl who later shows up in the Capitol as an "Avox," a servant who has their tongue cut out as punishment for their crime.

    Although the Avoxes do make several tacit appearances in the films (and Katniss does make a reference to tongues being cut out at one point), we never fully understand the horror of this situation. The scene in the book makes the fate of the red-headed Avox personal, and it illustrates just how gruesome the Capitol's tactics are.