While the recent news was sort of pointing in this direction, according to The Playlist it's now official and Gary Ross will not be returning to direct the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. Earlier today we reported that Fox and Lionsgate worked out a scheduling deal so that Catching Fire could utilize Jennifer Lawrence in the fall and X-Men: First Class would snag the actress for their X-Men: First Class sequel in January, but now it looks like Lionsgate will have to work a little harder to secure a new director in time to make that fall start, and, subsequently, their November 22, 2013 release date.
Word has it Ross just doesn't have the desire to direct the sequel, and that the offer made to him wasn't enough to persuade him back. For fans, this might be a good thing. Much of the criticism lobbed at The Hunger Games centered on the direction and the lack of a "world" audiences could invest in. Perhaps the studio should look to snag a genre director who can pull out and highlight the franchise's sci-fi elements a bit more. Will they make an offer to Steven Soderbergh, who shot some second unit on the first movie? Maybe, though his plate is already full.
Whatever direction they head in, it will probably be one that involves a director who has some experience. This is quickly turning into Hollywood's biggest franchise at the moment, and choosing the right talent to take it over behind the camera is a crucial decision. Who do you think should replace Ross as director on Catching Fire?