We know Katniss Everdeen, the bow-wielding heroine of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, is brought to life by actress Jennifer Lawrence’s real-life archery skills.
We also know that the notion of color-coding arrows is real, although normal arrows aren’t color-coded the same way or for the same reasons they are in “Mockingjay.” Real-life archers use arrows with different-colored fletchings or vanes (the colorful part at the blunt end of the arrow) to indicate the arrow’s length and help align the arrow before shooting, to identify their arrows, and to add style to archery equipment.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” picks up after the explosive – literally! – “Catching Fire.” Katniss’s arrow destroyed the Arena during the 75th Hunger Games, and she was whisked to District 13.
Beetee Latier (Jeffery Wright), a tribute from District 3, plays a vital role in the rebellion that seeks to overthrow the Capitol and tyrannical President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). Beetee creates a custom bow and arrows for Katniss, which some “Mockingjay” trailers show her shooting in District 8. She’s there to film video footage as the face of the rebellion and bring hope to residents who are caught in the crossfire of war between the Capitol and the 13 districts of Panem (a fictional version of America).
During Katniss’s visit, planes from the Capitol fly over and begin bombing District 8 and its residents. During this scene, we see Katniss shoot a red-tipped arrow (color-coded to indicate that it’s an explosive arrow) at a plane. The arrow explodes on contact.
Are Katniss’s explosive arrows real? Let’s see.
Fans of “The Hunger Games” might assume Beetee’s fictional tech-wizardry created Katniss’ custom bow and the arrows she shoots into a Capital plane flying over District 8. Explosive arrows? Pure movie magic! … Right?
Explosive Arrow History
Katniss isn’t the first fictional character to shoot explosive arrows. Explosive arrow torque tips were an accessory to John Rambo’s compound bow, and were featured in “Rambo: First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III.”
Explosive arrows also appear in “Skyrim,” “Far Cry 3,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” and other video games. Hawkeye and Green Arrow shot explosive arrows in comics, and “Arrow” viewers watched Laurel Lance shoot an explosive arrow from The Hood’s Oneida Kestrel bow in Season 2.
They aren’t the same as we see on big and small screens, or in comic books, but explosive arrows are real. With a little Hollywood magic, explosive arrows make an exciting addition to some of our favorite movies and TV shows. Where will they show up next?
Katniss and her explosive arrows will appear when “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” opens in U.S. theaters November 21.