‘Catching Fire': Who Should Play Finnick Odair?

Sure, “The Hunger Games” doesn’t hit theaters until March 23, 2012, but it’s never too early to begin thinking about its sequel, “Catching Fire,” is it? Especially since Lionsgate announced just yesterday that the follow-up will set Thanksgiving 2013 ablaze.

The second novel in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling dystopian trilogy, “Catching Fire” chronicles the continuing saga of teen Katniss Everdeen and her contentious relationship with the ever-watchful Capitol. The novel also introduces us to a slew of memorable new characters, including one of my personal favorites, District 4 victor Finnick Odair.

Full disclosure: Long before Liam Hemsworth was cast as Katniss’ hunting buddy Gale Hawthorne, he was my perfect Finnick. Tall, tan, blond and muscular? Yeah, sounds like a certain Aussie I know. Anyway, now that he’s no longer an option for the trident-wielding hunk, it’s time we take a seat on the Hollywood Crush Casting Couch to fish around for a few other worthy contenders. Keep reading after the jump for our picks (including a couple who might be familiar from the Peeta casting process).

Alex Pettyfer
Months before “The Hunger Games” found its male District 12 tribute, we went on the record with the “I Am Number Four” star, telling him we didn’t think he was “soft” enough to portray the baker’s son. We won’t say I told you so, but…we think he could use his amazing physique and self-assured attitude much more effectively as charmer Finnick.

Benjamin Stone
This pick comes courtesy of my colleague Kara Warner, who recently spoke with the “Nine Lives of Chloe King” star at the Teen Choice Awards. Besides having the kind of razor-sharp jawline that could serve as its own weapon, Kara assures me the 24-year-old Brit has just the right amount of cheeky swagger for the role.

Hunter Parrish
He may have been passed over for Peeta, but we still want to see the droolworthy “Weeds” star make waves in the Arena. Sure, he might be a touch short for the role, but that didn’t stop Josh Hutcherson did it…

Who do you think should play Finnick Odair? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!

Finnick illustration courtesy of Margarita Zhirkova