Gary Ross, who directed what may be the year’s biggest blockbuster, made a startling apology to dedicated Hunger Games fans who know Suzanne Collins’ novels. An Avox who’s involved in a key subplot does not appear in the film.

“It was just that there was no room for that in the storytelling, unfortunately,” Ross told MTV News. “The William Faulkner line is, ‘You have to kill your darlings.’ That was one that unfortunately fell by the wayside. I was sorry about it.”

For the uninitiated, an Avox is the term used for Panem resident who has been punished for rebelling against the Capitol. To maintain order and civil obedience, the runaways have their tongues cut out so they can never talk about rebelling.

Check out these Hunger Games photos;
click to enlarge.

While in the Capitol, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) runs into an Avox named Lavinia, whom she remembers seeing in the forest surrounding her home district. She remembers her companion being killed and Lavinia being captured in a net from a hovercraft. It was one of Katinss’ brushes with rebellion.

Ross said he made up for dropping the scene, by adding a riot scene after Rue’s death. Although it wasn’t in the book, it was approve by Collins and directed by Steven Soderbergh, he said. It sort of does the same thing, reveal the seeds of rebellion, Ross explained.

“I thought it was important that you begin to start to make the turn into ‘Catching Fire,’ that you see the seeds of the rebellion, you see what Katniss has caused,” he added.

The story focuses on Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old who lives in post-Apocalyptic Panem. It’s a totalitarian state located where the United States once existed. Those in power keep the populace sated with a blood sport known as “The Hunger Games.

The Games are part perverse entertainment for the masses and part government intimidation. In front of a nationally televised audience, a boy and a girl between 12 and 16 are chosen from each of 12 districts.

The are called “Tributes,” and must fight to the death in a large outdoor arena.

“The Hunger Games” opens in theaters March 23… without an Avox.