10 ‘What If’ Scenarios That Would Change Everything

Split image of Katniss and Gale in The Hunger Games

As audiences get their first looks at the prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, fans of The Hunger Games are excited to return to the world of Panem on the big screen. As the enthusiasm builds, it is the perfect time to revisit the original trilogy and the source material for the prequel.

Like any story or franchise, the characters make choices that have far-reaching consequences. If different choices were made, the story could’ve gone in an entirely different direction. It is fascinating to consider how The Hunger Games universe could change drastically given certain “what if” scenarios.


10 What If Katniss Didn’t Volunteer For Prim?

Katniss volunteers as tribute in The Hunger Games

If Katniss hadn’t volunteered, Prim most likely would have been killed and would not have won as her sister did. Prim was an intelligent, compassionate, and courageous individual with excellent medical skills, but she didn’t have the combat skills or selective ruthlessness needed to win.

RELATED: The 15 Most Brutal Deaths In The Hunger Games

Prim’s death probably would’ve caused Katniss to spiral and lose herself just as it did in Mockingjay. Yet, there is also a chance that Katniss could’ve used Prim’s death as a catalyst to form her own rebellion against the Capitol, which could’ve become part of the larger rebellion forming.

9 What If Peeta Didn’t Give Katniss The Burned Bread?

Peeta holding bread

When Peeta is chosen as the male tribute for the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss remembers him as “the boy with the bread,” the baker’s son who gave her a burnt loaf of bread when she and her family were starving and had nothing to eat. If Peeta hadn’t done this, Katniss and her family would’ve starved.

A few years later, Prim would not have been chosen in the 74th Hunger Games and Katniss wouldn’t have been able to volunteer to take her place and the rebellion wouldn’t have had their mockingjay. Peeta’s act of kindness not only saved Katniss and her family, but he cemented the foundation of an unbreakable bond between himself and Katniss, and saved the life of the person who would change Panem forever on multiple occasions.

8 What If Gale Was Chosen As The District 12 Male Tribute Instead Of Peeta?

Gale And Peeta Could Have Formed A Connection

If Gale had been chosen as the District 12 male tribute instead of Peeta, Katniss and Gale would’ve worked together and initially grown more intimate. The star-crossed lovers narrative that she and Peeta had could’ve arguably been more genuine for her and Gale.

However, Gale might not have wanted their relationship to be so public, instead wanting him and Katniss to primarily win through their survival skills rather than relying on sponsors. They may not have been able to work together in the Games or as a couple because of how similar they are, meaning the end of their relationship even sooner than in the actual story.

7 What If The Final Three Tributes Were Katniss, Peeta, And Rue?

Katniss and Rue in The Hunger Games

The final three tributes in the 74th Hunger Games were Katniss, Peeta, and Cato. At this juncture in the game, it was naturally Katniss and Peeta as a team against Cato. Instead of two allies against a common enemy, a final three of allies would’ve been far more challenging.

RELATED: 20 Most Memorable Quotes From The Hunger Games Movies

Neither Katniss, Peeta, nor Rue seem like they would want to kill each other given their personalities, their morals, and everything they would’ve gone through to reach the end together. All three of them could’ve tried to eat the nightlock berries instead of just Katniss and Peeta. If the Capitol allowed all three of them to win, it would’ve been satisfying to see Rue joining Katniss and Peeta in their rebellion against the Capitol.

6 What If Katniss And Peeta Ate The Nightlock Berries?

Katniss and Peeta holding the nightlock berries in The Hunger Games

When the Capitol changed the rules and said there could only be a single winner after all in the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta decided to eat the lethally poisonous nightlock berries rather than kill each other. They put the berries in their mouths but didn’t eat them as the Capitol changed their minds yet again and declared them both the winners.

If Katniss and Peeta had eaten the nightlock berries, they would’ve died, and there wouldn’t have been any winners for the 74th Hunger Games. The rebellion would’ve moved forward with Katniss and Peeta as martyrs for the movement. The Capitol would’ve lost even more control over the districts than they already did and the 75th Hunger Games/Quarter Quell probably wouldn’t have happened.

5 What If Cato Won The 74th Hunger Games?

Cato smiling from The Hunger Games

If Cato killed Katniss and Peeta and won the 7rth Hunger Games instead of them, the Capitol likely would’ve remained in power for much longer. Without the spark of rebellion that Katniss and Peeta created – and without those sparks still alive and out there for others to rally around – the rebellion against the Capitol likely wouldn’t have been as swift or successful.

The rebels would’ve needed another symbol or unifying moment to galvanize rebellion again, and there is no telling how long that would’ve taken. The dangerous tribute Cato would’ve become another golden boy of the Capitol and District 2, a cog in the machine keeping things as they’d been for over 70 years.

4 What If Haymitch Was The District 12 Male Tribute For The Quarter Quell?

A closeup of Haymitch in Hunger Games: Mockingjay

If Haymitch had been the District 12 male tribute instead of Peeta, Haymitch would’ve been in the Games and Peeta would’ve been the District 12 mentor. It was during the Quarter Quell that Haymitch worked with Plutarch Heavensbee – the Head Gamemaker who betrayed the Capitol – to move the rebellion forward, including saving Katniss, Beetee, and Finnick from the arena.

Peeta would not have been as effective at moving the rebellion forward as Haymitch. If Peeta had to chose who save from the arena, he definitely would’ve chosen Katniss over Haymitch, meaning that Haymitch might’ve fallen into the hands of the Capitol.

3 What If The Capitol Took Katniss Captive Instead Of Peeta?

Peeta in Mockingjay Pt. 2

Katniss was saved from the arena during the Quarter Quell, but the Capitol took Peeta captive. He was tortured, beaten, and hijacked with tracker jacker venom so that the Capitol could brainwash him. Had Katniss and Peeta’s roles been reversed, Katniss would’ve been more difficult for the Capitol to break, and they would not have been able to use her for public propaganda as they were able to use Peeta.

RELATED: Peeta’s 10 Most Memorable Hunger Games Quotes

It would’ve been worse for the rebellion as they couldn’t use Katniss as they wanted and would’ve seemed weak with their mockingjay a prisoner of the Capitol. The rebellion also wouldn’t be able to get Peeta to do anything as he’d only be able to focus on Katniss.

2 What If The Capitol Didn’t Let District 13 Survive?

Distict 13 in Mockingjay

While the public was led to believe that the Capitol destroyed District 13 during the districts’ first rebellion, the Capitol allowed District 13 to survive in secret due to the nuclear weapons in District 13’s possession. If the Capitol had insisted on destroying District 13, it could’ve led to mutual destruction and nuclear war as the Capitol and District 13 obliterated everyone and everything

If the Capitol somehow destroyed District 13 before District 13 was able to launch its nuclear weapons, the rebellion many years later might not have come to fruition. Even with the spark that Katniss provided, the rebellion in the other districts might not have been enough, as a lot of the second rebellion came from the resources and strategy provided by District 13.

1 What If Snow Ran Away With Lucy Gray?

President Snow in The Hunger Games

Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird were going to run away from the Capitol and from District 12 to live on their own in the wild. Of course, things didn’t work out between Snow and Lucy, and he returned to the Capitol, where he eventually became the ruthless dictator President Snow.

Had things worked out and had they chosen to run away together, the Hunger Games may not have become as prominent as Snow heavily shaped them into what the event became. The Capitol would still need to be overthrown, but it may have been easier to bring down without someone as cunning as Snow at the helm. As for Lucy, it is hard to see things ending well given that Snow would always choose himself in the end.

NEXT: 10 Things To Expect From The Hunger Games Prequel