After weeks of speculation that he was the frontrunner to play Finnick Odair in the upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, it’s now official. Lionsgate has formally announced that British actor Sam Claflin nabbed the coveted role. The 26-year-old beat out several contenders including Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), Trevor Donovan (90210), Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class). Finnick is a former winner of the Hunger Games and competing against Katniss in the Quarter Quell. In the book, Katniss first meets Finnick while he’s wearing nothing but a fishing net with some strategically placed knots. I’m pretty good at untying knots 😉 He’s so ridiculously cute. Hopefully, the film’s director stays true to the book and incorporates this scene.

Since Sam Claflin is officially on board, I thought it was the perfect time to get to know this rising star. Claflin was born in Ipswich, Suffolk to an accountant father and classroom assistant mother. His very first role was in the mini-series The Pillars of the Earth in 2010. But it was his role as Philip Swift in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides that showed his potential as a huge movie star. Since then he’s been landing role after another. Earlier this year he co-starred with Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in Snow White & The Huntsman. Now, he’s set to appear in the next three Hunger Games film hitting theaters in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Claflin is the latest casting announcement for The Hunger Games sequel. Previously announced huge additions include Jena Malone (Sucker Punch) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) playing the roles of Johanna Mason and Plutarch Heavensbee. Other actors joining the second film are Amanda Plummer (The Fisher King) playing Wiress, Alan Ritchson (Smallville) cast as Gloss, Meta Golding (Criminal Minds) as Enobaria, Lynn Cohen (Sex and the City) taking on Mags, Bruno Gunn (Sons of Anarchy) as Brutus, Stephanie Leigh Schlund (The Last Song) playing Cashmere, Maria Howell (Revolution) and E. Roger Mitchell (One Tree Hill) as former District 11 winners Seeder and Chaff.

Do you think Sam Claflin is a smart choice to play Finnick Odair? If not, who would have you cast? Are you excited for the sequel set to hit theaters in November 2013? Sound off below.