Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence

Murray Close/Lionsgate

Team Truth has officially accepted the loss of  Gary Ross, who announced he would not be returning to direct The Hunger Games sequel. Our mourning period was filled with even more tears than when poor little Rue died!

But like Katniss in the arena, we think this franchise will survive just fine. But who should take the reins and lead Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire? We know you like our dream casting posts (and lots of you have great ideas!), so it's time to dream up a director...

While helmers like Kathryn Bigelow and David Fincher have topped a lot of wish lists, we've left them out of our brainstorming session because we just can't quite see them taking on H.G. We don't even know yet if Fincher will be returning to do the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequel, for Lisbeth's sake!

So what about…

Alfonso Cuarón: Our current favorite, Cuarón is most notably remembered for films like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men, both of which handle darker subject matter and plenty of action (perfect, considering Fire delves even more into the Capitol's wicked ways than the first book and the arena sees plenty of thrills).

He's been nominated for three Oscars—two of which are for his writing adaptations, which should help him were he to fill Gary's shoes (Ross was very much involved in the scripting of the first). Plus, he's not officially attached to any other projects, so he could get started on casting Finnick Odair right away!

J.J. Abrams Abrams—the man behind Lost, Alias, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible III—is plenty busy (he's currently working on the Trek sequel and has another sequel planned for Cloverfield), but he might be able to squeeze an installment of another franchise somewhere in between.

J.J. knows how to make big, huge movies, and Catching Fire will surely be far bigger than Hunger Games was (million-dollar box-office hauls usually lead to an increased budget). But more important, if Alias is any indication, Abrams knows how to bring strong female leads to the screen.

The only con? Could you even imagine how many lens flares J.J. could pack into Catching Fire?!

Debra Granik: This one seems like such a no-brainer that it might simply be overlooked for fear of being "unoriginal." If you don't know Granik by name, it's because her IMDB resume is rather small. But she directed Jennifer Lawrence in her Oscar-nominated performance in Winter's Bone—and that should already put her at the top of any list!

Bone and Hunger Games share more than just a star in common—both revolve around that star taking care of her family in a dangerous, inhospitable environment—so it would be a seamless fit for Debra. She hasn't proven herself with too much action work, but one of the main complaints of Hunger Games was it didn't delve far enough into character connections, which Granik surely would do.

Patty Jenkins: Another potentially unfamiliar name, Patty is responsible for Charlize Theron's Academy Award-winning performance in Monster. She was also tapped to direct the pilot of The Killing (the polarizing AMC drama about the murder of a young girl). Both projects seem to show she could handle the seedier underbelly of Catching Fire.

Patty was—at one point—set to direct Thor 2, before being replaced on the project (which apparently had Natalie Portman seeing red). She clearly has the directing (not to mention writing) skills, and we'd love to see a woman behind the female-driven franchise. Maybe when that Thor door closed, a Hunger Games window opened up?

Bill Condon Our last suggestion is the Oscar-winning director who most recently helmed both Breaking Dawn Part 1 and the impending Part 2. He knows his way around a huge franchise that's gone through director after director and can get solid performances out of his A-list youngster cast (whaddup, Robert Pattinson).

We almost suggested Catherine Hardwicke (and still think she might be suitable for the gig—she was the Twilight director who connected most with the source material), but we're going with Condon if only because he delivered on his most recent film—whereas Cathy did not on that oh-so-melodramatic Red Riding Hood.

So what do you think of our picks, loyal Mockingjays? And who do you want to see take over for round two—or are you still too shell-shocked from Gary's announcement to even consider anyone else? Sound off below!

PHOTOS: Hunger Games Stars: Red Carpet Rewind

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