Well, it's official: The Hunger Games' director, Gary Ross, will not be directing the next film in the saga, Catching Fire.
"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire. As a writer and director, I simply don't have the time I need to write and prep the movie I wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule," Gary said in a statement.
Josh Hutcherson, who stars as Peeta in the franchise, speculated to E! News that Catching Fire filming could start as early as this fall.
Gary's direction received some iffy reviews; New York Times critic Manohla Dargis suggested that Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss might be "far rougher than Mr. Ross often feels comfortable with, perhaps because of disposition, inclination or some behind-the-scenes executive mandate."
Still, the cast of The Hunger Games is sorry to see him go.
"I think he's a genius," Josh told MTV News before the news broke. Josh even declined to name possible replacements. "Not until they tell me it has to be someone else," he said. "Gary's my guy, 100 percent."
But, a replacement is needed, and Dayo Okeniyi, who played Thresh, told E! News, "I'd like to see a David Fincher Catching Fire or Darren Aronofsky. I think he'd be amazing for a second movie. [It would] be a little bit edgier, darker."
Jacqueline Emerson, who played Foxface, seems to disagree. "I'm sorry, I can't move on yet," she told E! News. "I'm still in mourning. I don't know that anyone else could bring it to life the way [Gary] did."
What do you think about the director drama? Who would you like to see take the helm for Catching Fire?