Lionsgate's Hunger Games franchise is moving full steam ahead. While the first film in the planned trilogy won't hit theaters until March 23, work has already begun on its sequel, TheWrap has confirmed.

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) is writing the script for Catching Fire. Gary Ross, who directed Hunger Games, will also direct the sequel and is supervising the writing of the script.

The films are based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling young-adult novels about a nationally televised fight in which teens compete to the death. Collins wrote the script to the first movie with Ross and Billy Ray (State of Play, Shattered Glass).

Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth are expected to return for Catching Fire, which will hit theaters November 22, 2013. The release date was announced while the first film was still shooting.

The Hunger Games literary trilogy -- which also includes Mockingjay -- has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.