‘Hunger Games’ Director Gary Ross Won’t Return For ‘Catching Fire’

After a week of reports going back-and-forth on his status with the franchise, it’s now official: Gary Ross will not be returning for another “Hunger Games” movie. Ross and Lionsgate confirmed the news in a joint announcement made late last night, revealing that the director behind the box office titan has put the world of Panem behind him for good.

“I loved making ’The Hunger Games’ — it was the happiest experience of my professional life,” Ross said in his statement. “Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise: they empowered me to make the film I wanted to make and backed the movie in a way that requires no explanation beyond the remarkable results. And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.”

Sad news for fans of the franchise, no doubt about it. Get more on Ross’ departure at MTV News, and stay with us all week long as we continue looking into the story.