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"The Hunger Games": Francis Lawrence to direct "Mockingjay" Parts 1 and 2

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 08: Executive producer/director Francis Lawrence speaks onstage during the 'Touch' panel during the FOX Broadcasting Company portion of the 2012 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 8, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Frederick M. Brown

Francis Lawrence is staying with "The Hunger Games" franchise through its end.

Lionsgate announced Thursday that the man directing "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," will also helm the final films in the series, "Mockingjay, Part 1" and "Mockingjay, Part 2."

Lawrence, whose other film credits include "I am Legend" and "Water for Elephants," began shooting "Catching Fire," in September. He replaced Gary Ross, who directed the first "Hunger Games" film but decided not to return for the sequel, citing scheduling conflicts.

"Mockingjay," the third and final book in Suzanne Collins' best-selling dystopian young-adult series, is being adapted into two films by Danny Strong (HBO's "Game Change"), according to Deadline, and Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth will all return to star.

Lionsgate announced in July that "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" will arrive in theaters on Nov. 21, 2014, while "Part 2," will be released on Nov. 20, 2015.

"Catching Fire," is slated to arrive in theaters on Nov. 22, 2013.