SAN DIEGO - Peeta in "The Hunger Games" trilogy has a lot of maturing to do between the first and second books, and Josh Hutcherson knows that his character's stakes are much higher for forthcoming flick "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

"Peeta grows up a lot. I think his undying love for Katniss is still his main driving force for what he's doing and why he's doing it," Hutcherson tells HitFix at San Diego Comic-Con. "He really steps up in this movie and he kind of knows he has to fight harder than he did the last time, because more is on the line this time around."

He and his character -- just like Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss -- are not one in the same. But Hutcherson does miss his co-star when they're apart... just like in the books! After Peeta and Katniss' victory in the 74th Hunger Games, they have an unlikely reunion at the Quarter Quell. Hutcherson and Lawrence only have to wait until September, when the two final films will be shot, to hang out together again.

"We long for each other so badly," Hutcherson mugged. "We do miss each other. we're both in different parts of the world filming and stuff, so its hard to get to see each other."

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" heads to theaters on Nov. 22 this year. "Mockingjay" has been split and will take place over two films, to be released in 2014 and 2015.

Click here to watch HitFix's interview with Jennifer Lawrence on "Catching Fire" at Comic-Con 2013.