Sure, the premise of The Hunger Games may seem a tad barbaric: pitching randomly selected teens between the ages of 12 and 18 into an arena in a lengthy battle to the death. But as the novel series and first adaptation have shown, the ensuing heart-wrenching drama (and action) are less offensive than one might assume.

Daydreaming about which fictional children would stand the best chance in the arena – and which would likely receive their long-awaited comeuppances – may not be considered ‘healthy,’ per se, but as the second installment in the series Catching Fire arrives, we just can’t help ourselves.

Whether it’s a true test of skill or simply sweet revenge that awaits them, here is our list of 10 Movie & TV Heroes We Want To See Compete in The Hunger Games.


Age: 12

We know what you’re thinking – this is a lamb led to slaughter. But don’t let the freckles fool you: Punky Brewster has shown that her will to survive is not to be underestimated. After being abandoned by her father and left in a shopping mall by her mother, Punky didn’t crumble; she merely found an apartment of her own.

The fact that she never lost her perky attitude proves that to her, survival is second nature. Drop Punky into the hellish oppression of Panem’s poorer districts, and we think she could still beat the odds. If she somehow managed to sneak in her dog, Brandon, she could tip the odds in her favor.

Odds of Survival: Fair.


Age: 17

Panem might have its share of problems, but vampires aren’t one of them. So although the combat skills and courage of the titular heroine of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are not in question, this gauntlet isn’t one for which she trained.

Sure, superhuman strength and intuition would make Buffy a tough girl to beat, but her good heart would do her in. Spectators would enjoy quite a show of martial arts and plucky one-liners, but when push came to stab – and without her closest allies – Buffy would take an honorable death.

Odds of Survival: Low.


Age: 16

Admittedly, Luke Skywalker has a bit of an advantage over the rest of the Tributes on our list. Although he clearly would not be able to bring his lightsaber into the arena, his telekinetic abilities and danger sense could handle anything the Capitol could throw at him.

Even if Skywalker was admitted prior to his Jedi training, his youthful energy and reckless courage would do him well against fellow teens. It’s true that Jedi don’t take lives in vain, but given Ben Kenobi’s clear approval of defensive amputation, we think Luke would do just fine (trust us, we’ve searched our feelings).

Odds of Survival: High.


Age: 16

It’s hard to accept a future in which the brutal Hunger Games could exist alongside a spacefaring organization as impressive as Starfleet, but if it gets Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Wesley Crusher into the fight, we’ll be happy to.

While Crusher may not have been the most intimidating teen during his early Starfleet career, he has proven to be a consistent lifesaver. It’s difficult to say whether his knack for problem solving would come in handy staring down the business end of a trident, but he’d certainly put up a fight.

Odds of Survival: Fair.


Age: 12

Although the ranks of Dragon Army would not be accessible to the star of Ender’s Game once entering the arena, it goes without saying that the lessons he learned during his time at Battle School would come in handy regardless. As a gifted leader and commander, not to mention battle strategist, we’d go so far as to say he might end up a Career Tribute.

Even setting aside his most impressive victories, Wiggin has shown that killing isn’t exactly a taboo in his mind – especially when it’s ‘kill or be killed.’

Odds of Survival: High.


Age: 14

Having graduated from Princeton at age 10, it’s possible that rulers of Panem might actually waive the ’12 years or older’ stipulation for Dr. Doogie Howser. The idea that brains are more important than brawn is one of the central themes of The Hunger Games, and if that’s true, then God help whoever enters the arena with this medical prodigy.

However, his Hippocratic oath would have an impact on his combat effectiveness. He’d be able to patch up allies and think outside the box, but could he kill? If he ever did, the mental trauma alone would likely remove him from contention.

Odds of Survival: Fair.


Age: 12

On the surface, Lawrence ‘Chunk’ Cohen has two truly valuable personality traits for Panem’s Tributes: he has a habit of lying, and he’s first and foremost a social player, thanks mainly to his trademark ‘Truffle Shuffle.’

However, the beloved cast member of The Goonies is ruled not by his will to survive, or even to kill – but rather his desire to eat. Since hunger is a fairly significant element of the ‘Hunger Games,’ Chunk would have the odds stacked against him from the start. A competitor would simply need to cook a meal to lure him in, and all the bell-shaking in the world couldn’t help him.

Odds of Survival: Low.


Age: 18

She may be the brightest witch of her generation, Hermione Granger has shown a tendency to shy away from violence, believing that intellect can solve problems just as easily. However, since her wand wouldn’t go into the arena with her (fairly, anyway), she’d have just her smarts to save her.

Working best as one part of a three-person team, Hermione would be vulnerable to say the least. And while we have no doubts she’d do more research and preparation than her fellow Tributes, this is not the kind of darkness she has trained to defeat.

Odds of Survival: Low.


Age: 13

This wouldn’t even be fair. Trained to be a precision killer from an early age, Mindy McCready made the name ‘Hit-Girl’ one to be feared before she was even out of middle school. As (arguably) the star of Kick-Ass, Mindy showed that there is no weapon she can’t wield with precision – and will do so given the slightest reason.

Kick-Ass 2 saw her tackle high school, meaning she is not only experienced in the social systems at play in adolescents, but brimming with anticipation for getting to turn her aggression on some of her peers. Forget volunteering – Hit-Girl would definitely make a career of the Hunger Games.

Odds of Survival: High.


Age: 17

No excuses here: we just really want to see Game of Thrones‘ King Joffrey Baratheon get what’s coming to him. Although recent events may have challenged Joffrey’s position as the show’s most hated character, he’s the only one who fits our criteria. And while good with a crossbow, any fan of the show can predict how he would fare.

No one knows if in the 75 years of the Hunger Games, all the Tributes have ever joined forces to immediately tear one of their competitors to ribbons. If not, then Joffrey would help write history. We’ll let your imagination determine how best to eliminate him.

Odds of Survival: Nonexistent.


We know that only one on our list could survive the ordeal, but don’t ask us to choose which. And even though the prospect of surviving one another’s violent tendencies and combat specialties seems harsh, Catching Fire proves that the hardest battles tend to lie outside the arena.

Which of our contenders do you think would have the edge? Or do you have another pick that you feel would dispatch our entrants with ease? Make your case in the comments.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire releases in theaters and IMAX today.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.