Sam Claflin cast as Finnick Odair in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Wide Screen

After a long and exhaustive search, it seems like "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" has finally found its Finnick Odair. In press release, studio Lionsgate announced that Sam Claflin ("Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Snow White and the Huntsman") is set to play the District 4 tribute and former Hunger Games champ who favours the trident.

The coveted role — and just who exactly would get it — has been the talk of Hollywood for months now, with everyone from "Twilight Saga" star Robert Pattinson and Canadian Taylor Kitsch ("John Carter," "Battleship") rumoured to be in the mix at one point or another. The actors in question systematically debunked those rumours, but their association with the role created a frenzy of speculation around the "Catching Fire" casting process.

Claflin's new gig is sure to make him the envy of every young actor in Hollywood. Although the 26-year-old English actor had been considered a favourite for some time now, nobody was quite sure who would eventually secure the part. The character figures quite heavily into Suzanne Collins' second and third "Hunger Games" books, so it's safe to say that Finnick Odair will similarly feature very significantly in the big screen adaptations of "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay," making it a huge coup for any young actor to snag the part.

If we're being honest here, one of the other major reasons that the casting search for the character has been so closely followed by "Hunger Games" fans is that author Collins described Odair as being extremely handsome and athletic. Just how closely Claflin fits the fan's image of the character is sure to be a subject of serious debate amongst series diehards. Odair is said to possess striking "sea green" eyes, tan skin, and bronzed hair - none of which Claflin has — but not something that contacts, a tanning bed, and some dye can't fix. He's got the handsome part down, though, so if he can brush up on his trident and net skills he'll be all set.

What do you think of Lionsgate's choice? Does Claflin fit the picture of Finnick Odair that you had in your head? Sound off in the comments.

Directed by Francis Lawrence ("Water for Elephants"), "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is due in theatres on Nov. 22, 2013.