Now that The Hunger Games director Gary Ross is officially not directing the second movie in the series, Catching Fire, it's time to start speculating about who Lionsgate might hire. Or rather, who they should hire. As Anne Thompson at Indiewire writes, "Ross had done the heavy lifting" in creating the film version of the book series. (The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters has a great inside-baseball account of how Ross's commitments to direct Fox's next X-Men movie also came into play.) So whoever comes on to direct the next installment is going to have work inside some constraints set by Ross. But here's the tricky part: without giving anything away, Catching Fire gets a lot more complicated than the relatively lo-fi Hunger Games. And then fuhgeddaboutit with the third book, Mockingjay. That thing is practically off the rails. Basically the world of the story gets bigger and crazier and harder to visualize in one's head (that's actually one of the series' near-fatal flaws, everything gets a little too hard to imagine) so they're going to need someone who's kind of a visionary. Lionsgate probably has people in mind, and probably wants to get someone reasonably cheap, but let's just pretend that anyone is possible and that money is no object, and offer these suggestions.
A dream get! While Fincher hasn't done a big action movie since Alien 3 (and even that is reasonably contained), he proved he can do a sprawling anarchistic story with Fight Club, but showed a softer more kid-friendly side with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That's a good mix for Catching Fire, which obviously is crazy violent but also involves angsty teen romance and all that sensitive stuff. Fincher is dark enough but has also shown enough range beyond that, plus has an all-important eye for detail and mechanics, to make him maybe the ideal choice. He's almost certainly too expensive and probably wouldn't do it anyway, but we can dream.