Gary Ross' 'Hunger Games' Departure: Experts React

This morning, we completely mourned director Gary Ross' departure from "The Hunger Games." And while we wished this was a belated April Fool's joke, we wiped away our tears to chat with a few "Hunger Games" experts to get their take on the news. Specifically, we talked with Theresa Morgan from Down With The Capitol and Amanda Belcher from The Hob to see how they felt about Gary's decision.

"I have to admit, tears were shed—many tears," Theresa said. "Even though we knew that this was potentially coming. I think not many of us really wanted to accept the fact that he may not come back... We were holding onto that last hope until it was official."

Amanda said she was shocked and upset that Gary decided to bow out before diving into the sequel. "He had done such a great job with 'The Hunger Games' in the role of director and writer," she said. "I was really hoping to see his take on 'Catching Fire,' and have his involvement continue [as] we enter the whole franchise."

And although Theresa was upset, she added that she fully respects Gary's decision and the way he went about it. "If he couldn't make the film the way he wanted to in the time he had, I would rather have him step out now than to do the film and not be happy with it. So, we'll miss him, but I'm glad that he gave us a great base to start on."

Well said, Theresa. This is only the beginning for our beloved franchise. We're ready to put our full faith in whichever director fills Gary's shoes—however massive they may be.

Are you sad to see Gary go? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!