By Adam B. Vary
December 21, 2011 at 08:53 PM EST
Jason LaVeris/

The race to find the next Hunger Games — i.e. an adaptation of a book series aimed at the YA crowd and beloved by swarms of passionate, ticket-buying fans — just found itself a new frontrunner today, with the news that Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin have signed onto the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. (EW has confirmed Variety‘s initial report.) 

Set in a future in which Earth has weathered invasions by an insect-like race of aliens called Formics, the story follows a young genius named Ender Wiggin (Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield) who is conscripted into military school to learn how to battle back the invading horde. Ford will play Col. Hyram Graff, who runs the Battle School in which Ender is enrolled, while Breslin has signed on to play the title hero’s sister Valentine. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) will play Petra Arkanian, Ender’s friend and one of the only female recruits at Battle School.

Directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) from his own script, produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek), and co-financed by OddLot Entertainment and Summit Entertainment, the film is set to arrive in theaters March 15, 2013.

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Read more:

‘Hugo’ star Asa Butterfield tweets he’s the lead in ‘Ender’s Game’

‘Ender’s Game’ eyes 2013 release date