- "Catching Fire" director Francis Lawrence will remain with the franchise
- He'll direct parts 1 and 2 of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay"
- "Mockingjay Part 1 and 2" concludes the saga of Katniss Everdeen's struggle against Panem
Lionsgate announced on Thursday that "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" director Francis Lawrence will remain with the franchise and direct parts 1 and 2 of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay."
The announcement means Lawrence, who's been shooting "Catching Fire" since September, will have helmed three out of the four feature adaptations of Suzanne Collins' best-selling YA novel series.
The filmmaker, previously best known for 2007′s Will Smith thriller "I Am Legend," stepped in to direct "Catching Fire" after "The Hunger Games" director Gary Ross left the franchise, citing concerns that the sequel's production schedule was moving too quickly. ("Catching Fire" has been slated for a November 22, 2013 release since August 2011.)
"Mockingjay Part 1 and 2" concludes the saga of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her struggle against the autocratic government of Panem.
Danny Strong (HBO's "Game Change" and "Recount") will be adapting Collins' single book into the two separate films, which are scheduled to hit theaters on November 21, 2014, and November 20, 2015, respectively. Co-stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald Sutherland are all expected to return.