The news broke several weeks ago that I Am Legend and Water for Elephants director Francis Lawrence would be offered the job of helming Catching Fire, the sequel to the mega-mega-hit The Hunger Games. Most of us took that news as gospel, and went on assuming he'd be the director, but not so fast! Only today has Lionsgate confirmed that Lawrence has the job, in announcement that hails him as "uniquely suited to handle the blend of character-driven drama and high stakes action of Catching Fire. Says Lionsgate President of Production Erik Feig:

"Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of Catching Fire. Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life."

The announcement also confirms what we pretty much all suspected: the main cast from The Hunger Games, both older and younger, will be reprising their roles in Catching Fire. If you want specifics, that's Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Toby Jones-- and if you thought Sutherland was underused in The Hunger Games, he's got some really excellent scenes coming up in the sequel.

As of today, The Hunger Games has currently made $602 million worldwide. Francis Lawrence has quite the challenge ahead of him to match that.

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