Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen)
The role: After winning the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss relocates her family to the Victors’ Village and heads off on the Victory Tour of all 12 districts. She quickly realizes that her efforts in the Games had much larger consequences that she could have imagined.
The actor: Lawrence is one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood. Following her Oscar win for Silver Linings Playbook, her busy dance card includes reuniting with Bradley Cooper in Susanne Bier’s Depression-era Serena, reuniting with Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell in American Hustle, and once again donning the blue body paint as Mystique in 2014’s mega-sequel-prequel X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark)
The role: At the end of Suzanne Collins’ book The Hunger Games, Peeta clearly learns that Katniss was playacting her passion for him in the arena, which reverberates throughout Catching Fire. Now the touring Victors have to resolve their feelings for each — and Peeta has to contend with Katniss’s complex relationship with her childhood friend. And that’s before they’re called back into the arena.
The actor: Since the release of Hunger Games, Hutcherson appeared in the long-delayed Red Dawn and voiced a lead character in Epic. Of course, he’s been working since his pre-teen years, with roles in Zathura, the Journey movies, and The Kids Are All Right.
Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne)
The role: Stung by the (kinda sorta) fake romance between Katniss and Peeta during the Games, Gale retreats to working punishing hours in the coal mines. But his revolutionary spirit has far from dimmed.
The actor: Hemsworth, who won the honorary newbie slot in last August’s The Expendables 2, is making a bit of a career of starring opposite seasoned movie stars. His most recent project was the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, costarring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss, and, to keep things interesting, Amber Heard.
Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair)
The role: Of all the new characters in Catching Fire, Finnick looms largest. After he won his Hunger Games for District 4 when he was 14 thanks to his prowess with a trident, Finnick’s rakish good looks and louche charm helped him become something of a celebrity in the Capitol. Katniss is initially wary of him — in Suzanne Collins’ bestseller, when they first meet, Finnick is wearing nothing but a fishing net with some strategically placed knots. But along with his former mentor Mags (Lynn Cohen), Finnick proves to be a powerful ally once they get to the arena.
The actor: The role marks yet another remarkable step forward in the lightning-fast rise of Claflin’s career. The 24-year-old Brit first appeared in a supporting role in the Starz miniseries The Pillars of the Earth. In 2011, he starred in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the young romantic lead (i.e. the Orlando Bloom role). And Claflin vied for Kristen Stewart’s affections in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.
Jena Malone (Johanna Mason)
The role: A former Hunger Games winner from District 7, Johanna possesses ”a wicked ability to murder,” as Suzanne Collins’ book puts it. One open question about the character is whether director Francis Lawrence will keep Johanna’s introduction from the book, in which she first meets Katniss, naked — save for her green slippers.
The actor: Malone began her acting career at 12 years old in the acclaimed Showtime movie Bastard Out of Carolina and as a young Jodie Foster in the sci-fi drama Contact. She most recently appeared in History’s ratings-record-breaking miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and has a part in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Thomas Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice.
Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy)
The role: For the first time in his life, Haymitch has to grow accustomed to having neighbors in the Victor’s Village. But his bigger concern is helping Katniss navigate the unrest she’s unwittingly stoked within all of Panem.
The actor: Harrelson’s career renaissance continues unabated. After the surprise-hit Now You See Me, he’s voicing one of the lead turkeys in the animated Thanksgiving film Free Birds, playing opposite Christian Bale as a brutal crime boss in the Rust Belt thriller Out of the Furnace, and starring alongside Matthew McConaughey in HBO’s intriguing new series True Detective.
Donald Sutherland (President Snow)
The role: A man with a flair for the dramatic, Snow delivers a deliberately personal warning to Katniss about her role in the growing unrest within Panem.
The actor: We’d feel bad that Sutherland has to maintain that beard and regal mane of hair, but the guy doesn’t really seem to mind.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee)
The role: As new Head Gamemaker at the Capitol, replacing the seemingly executed Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) from The Hunger Games, Heavensbee is far savvier political animal than his predecessor. Charged with overseeing the 75th annual Hunger Games, President Snow urges him to use the third Quarter Quell to subtly squash the Districts’ growing revolutionary fervor, and Heavensbee approaches this task with brutal glee.
The actor: Last year, Hoffman earned his third Tony nomination and his fourth Oscar nomination for Death of a Salesman and The Master, respectively. He won the Best Actor Oscar for Capote in 2005.
Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket)
The role: Effie serves as Katniss and Peeta’s chaperone on their Victory Tour of Panem, and begins to chafe under President Snow’s increasingly strict constraints on everyone’s freedom as they travel.
The actor: After huge success as a producer and supporting star in the cult-hit college a cappella comedy Pitch Perfect, Banks continued to prove a clutch ensemble player in 2013’s Movie 43. She has a full plate of projects lined up for 2014, including voice work in The Lego Movie, a lead role in the one-night-stand comedy Walk of Shame, channeling Brian Wilson’s second wife Melinda Ledbetter in the Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy, and as a detective in the Nicole Holofcener-penned mystery Every Secret Thing.
Lenny Kravitz (Cinna)
The role: Once again, Cinna displays a peerless talent for provocative, show-stopping fashion in Catching Fire.
The actor: Kravitz reunited with Precious director Lee Daniels for the fact-based drama The Butler, about the African American man (Forest Whitaker) who worked in the White House under eight consecutive presidents.
Jeffrey Wright (Beetee)
The role: Nicknamed ”Volts” for his expertise in electronics and wiring, the District 3 victor is a source of strength (and sometime translator) for his more eccentric companion Wiress (another victor). The two of them join Katniss’ motley crew of allies inside the arena of the 75th Annual Hunger Games.
The actor: Wright is best known for his work in the play Angels in America, which earned him a Tony Award in 1994. In 2003, he reprised his role in the HBO mini-series, earning a Golden Globe and an Emmy. He’s also appeared in Basquiat, Source Code, Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, W., Syriana, and Cadillac Records.
Amanda Plummer (Wiress)
The role: The District 3 champion comes off as a little nuts, hence her nickname: ”Nuts.” But she proves to be a vital ally for Katniss, and is far savvier than she appears.
The actor: The daughter of actor Christopher Plummer, the 55-year-old’s most high profile role is as the diner bandit Honey Bunny from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
Lynn Cohen (Mags)
The role: The 80-year-old from District 4 is one of the oldest Hunger Games champions still alive. She served as a mentor to fellow District 4 champion Finnick. Practically silent, Mags nonetheless proves vital during the Games, inspiring fierce loyalty from Finnick.
The actor: Cohen is best known as Miranda’s loyal nanny Magda from Sex and the City. The longtime character actress has also played Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg’s Munich and has appeared on Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU.
Meta Golding (Enobaria)
The role: The District 2 champion had a particularly gruesome method of dispatching her fellow contestants: She tore into one’s throat with her teeth. In Suzanne Collins’ book, after her Hunger Games, Enobaria commemorated her savagery by getting her teeth sharpened down to shark-like points.
The actor: Golding has appeared Criminal Minds, Dark Blue, CSI, and Cold Case.
Bruno Gunn (Brutus)
The role: Like his fellow District 2 career tribute Enobaria, Brutus signs up for the Quarter Quell. And like his fallen District 2 brother Cato from The Hunger Games, Brutus becomes one of the arena’s most lethal competitors. Just look at the guy.
The actor: Gunn has appeared on several TV shows, including Sons of Anarchy, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Prison Break. His roles often have ”Officer,” ”Police,” or ”Guard” in the name.
Alan Ritchson (Gloss)
The role: From District 1, Gloss is one of the rare Hunger Games victors whose sister, Cashmere, was also a winner. He’s also real pretty, clearly.
The actor: Ritchson spent three seasons playing A-grade d-bag Thad Castle on Spike’s Blue Mountain State. He also strapped on Aquaman’s tight green pants on Smallville. And then there was the time he auditioned for American Idol.
Stephanie Leigh Schlund (Cashmere)
The role: The awesomely named former winner from District 1 proves to be a formidable foe to Katniss thanks to her partnership with her brother Gloss — they won their respective Hunger Games in consecutive years.
The actor: Schlund’s biggest film role to date was in 2010’s The Last Song (coincidentally starring THG‘s Gale himself — Liam Hemsworth), though she costarred in the pilot of Drop Dead Diva and appeared on Fox’s Kevin Bacon starrer The Following.
E. Roger Mitchell (Chaff)
The role: Chaff hails from District 11, home to the beloved Rue from The Hunger Games. Though Chaff emerged victorious in the 45th annual Hunger Games, he wasn’t unscathed. He lost a hand and refused to allow Capitol doctors to fit him for a prosthetic. Perhaps motivated by what was taken from him, Chaff falls in with a group of former victors that becomes critical to Katniss as she returns for a second Games.
The actor: Mitchell is best known as The Shield‘s Lester Hoffman, though he has popped up in films including Contagion, Battle Los Angeles, and Denzel Washington’s Flight.
Maria Howell (Seeder)
The role: Unlike many of Seeder’s fellow Hunger Games champions, Katniss takes a liking to this District 11 victor when Seeder gives the Girl on Fire vital information about the families of Rue and Thresh the moment they meet.
The actor: Before she starred in Revolution and Devious Maids, Atlanta-based Howell’s first role was as the church choir soloist in 1985’s The Color Purple. More recently, she has appeared The Blind Side, The Vampire Diaries, and on TBS series Meet the Browns and House of Payne.
Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman)
The role: Caesar prides himself on always being in control of what unfolds in front of his cameras before each Hunger Games; his interviews before the Quarter Quell are another thing entirely.
The actor: The definition of a working actor, Tucci has recently appeared in everything from Jack the Giant Killer and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Sea of Monsters to The Fifth Estate.
Willow Shields (Primrose Everdeen)
The role: Katniss first volunteered for the Games to save her younger sister, but in Catching Fire, Prim proves she can handle herself in rough situations.
The actor: Shields is sassy and busy — she’s booked roles in three films during her Hunger hiatus, including 2013 thrillers A Fall from Grace and The Wonder, as well as the 2014 drama Conversations with Andy.
Paula Malcomson (Mrs. Everdeen)
The role: Before her husband died, Katniss and Prim’s mother was a healer — a talent that very much comes in handy in Catching Fire.
The actor: The journeyman actress continues her implicit goal to appear on every TV show ever, following up lead roles on Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy, and Caprica with a lead role on Showtime’s Ray Donovan.
Francis Lawrence (director)
The role: Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer) signed on for Catching Fire after Hunger Games director Gary Ross bowed out. He’s since told EW’s Karen Valby that his main goal for Fire was to step up the visual effects.
The director: Lawrence has directed TV shows, music videos, and behind-the-scenes documentaries for Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, and Green Day. His most-direct prep for Catching Fire is his turn helming Will Smith’s 2007 action flick I Am Legend, as well as his experience adapting Sara Gruen’s beloved novel Water for Elephants into a 2011 film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.