Now that "The Hunger Games" is tearing up the box office and we've had a chance to dig through what surprises the film offered even long-time fans, it's time to turn up the heat on the subject of the first sequel, "Catching Fire."
We already know a few deets about what's in store for the second "Hunger Games" installment. For one, Simon Beaufoy of "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours" fame is currently busy typing up a first script for the film. Also, the release date for "Catching Fire" is set for Nov. 22, 2013, and director Gary Ross is committed to direct it (though he's still not a sure thing for "Mockingjay" and we do hope he sticks it out for the full series). Plus rumor has it that the team is eyeing Hawaii as a potential filming destination for the new Arena scenes.
Still, with all the new characters and locations in the second story, there's a lot of pre-production kindling yet to burn with "Catching Fire." Here's our wish list for the second flick. As always, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.
Author-Director Tag Teaming
With "The Hunger Games," the script went through several varying drafts, but the working screenplay came from the inadvertent mind-matching of Gary Ross and source material author Suzanne Collins. Collins is something of a screenwriter herself, having worked in television writing before her days as a best-selling novelist. So we loved hearing Gary Ross talk about how the two got together for a simple chat but wound up locking themselves in a room to polish the script. More of that please.
There are a lot of fan favorites to cast in "Catching Fire," not the least of which is the ridiculously gorgeous Finnick Odair. Some great suggestions we've heard for the role so far include Ryan Kwanten, Alex Pettyfer and original fan-favorite for Peeta, Hunter Parrish. Whoever is chosen, we just hope they don't go too young with the role, and we absolutely expect them to nab someone with gobs of charm.
Another major player will be Johanna Mason. And yeah, we heard you want it Kristen Bell, but we're thinking the role might need someone a tad saucier. She is the kind of gal who can go toe-to-toe with Katniss, after all. Not to mention, there's that nude elevator scene. We're thinkin' someone possibly already know for kicking a little ass, someone like Michelle Rodriguez, Summer Glau or Gina Carano.
Some of the other characters we hope to see make the casting cut include: Gale's mom Hazelle; the sympathetic peacekeeper Darius; Nuts and Volts, er, Beetee and Wiress; that tough old broad Mags; fellow tributes Gloss, Cashmere, Enobaria, Chaf, and Brutus; and, of course, the duplicitous new Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee.
Give Us the Complete Triangle
Revolution schmevolution. We really hope the filmmakers don't attempt to dial down the triangular nature of Katniss, Peeta and Gale in "Catching Fire." The fence, so to speak, is electric in this installment, and Katniss being perched over it, clinging to a tree is a significant metaphor for what's going on in her love life. There's no need to omit her little smooch with Gale in the woods, and we definitely want to see Katniss and Peeta's train snuggling during their Victory Tour. Let us hear Gale profess his love to Katniss and bring us the sweet locket and pearl scenes with Peeta. "Catching Fire" has a little something for both Team Gale and Team Peeta, and we want it all. So when the ball gets rolling on this thing, we want to hear some assurances that we'll be satisfied on this front.
The Full Arena
The only person who might know what other miserable sections the full third Quarter Quell arena contains is Suzanne Collins. And since we hope she'll have a heavy hand in drawing the blueprints for "Catching Fire" (see above), we also plea she'll help surprise us with a bigger glimpse at the clock in motion. We already know about the lightning storm, blood rain, giant wave, evil monkeys, vicious insects and jabberjay sections, but what other atrocities did the Gamemakers cook up? Our fingers are crossed that the filmmakers will slip this into their plans for the movie.
What's on your "Catching Fire" wish list? Take aim for the comments below!
Amanda Bell is a young adult book-to-film enthusiast and has made a name for herself as a fan-friendly, informative and dependable source. In addition to being the District 14 columnist for NextMovie, she runs the popular Twilight Examiner column. Keep tabs on her on Twitter.