After 40 years Warner Bros. is going back to the well… or in this case, the flagpole. Last month, Variety broke the news that HBO Max was developing a sequel to the beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Story. While it was already announced that Peter Billingsley would be returning to the role of Ralphie, little else was known about the cast. Now Deadline has revealed that four more original cast members will be joining Billingsley for the upcoming holiday film.
Titled A Christmas Story Christmas, the festive sequel will feature Ralphie returning with his own kids to his childhood home for Christmas after the death of his father, The Old Man, originally played to perfection by Darren McGavin. Joining Ralphie will be his brother Randy, portrayed again by Ian Petrella in his first on-screen role since the original 1983 classic. Ralphie will also meet up with his buddies, Schwartz (R.D. Robb) and Flick (Scott Schwartz), for what will likely be a reunion full of “Triple-Dog-Dares” and possibly a Fudge-bomb or two, considering they are now adults. The final returning cast member, for now, is Zach Ward as Scut Farkus, the bully with a cackling laugh and yellow eyes. (“My God, he has yellow eyes!”) With the return of Scut Farkus, it’s easy to speculate that there may be a Cobra Kai style dynamic between him and Ralphie that is rooted in their playground fight.
After Cobra Kai, there actually seems to be an overabundance of nostalgia-driven film and TV properties lately, but this one makes perfect sense to us. While A Christmas Story was largely forgotten after its initial release in 1983, it has since become a holiday staple thanks to its annual 24-hour Christmas Eve marathons. Last year’s 8 Bit Christmas, another HBO Max original, was essentially a modernization of the original Jean Shephard story, with a Nintendo Entertainment System replacing the Red Ryder BB gun. With the success of that film, why not go back to the original, and check in on those characters we already love?
“I want an official Red Ryder, carbine-action,
two-hundred shot range model air rifle,
with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.”
- Ralphie Parker
A Christmas Story Christmas is not even the first, or second, A Christmas Story sequel. Despite a very different cast, the Parker Family actually returned in 1994’s My Summer Story, originally titled It Runs In The Family. This sequel was directed by Bob Clark, director of the original film, as well as the much darker holiday classic Black Christmas. My Summer Story also featured the return of Jean Shephard as adult Ralphie narrating the film based on the previously published stories of his youth. In 2012, there was even a direct-to-video sequel, A Christmas Story 2, which followed a 16-year-old Ralphie now with his eyes set on getting his first car for Christmas. That film shared very little in common with the original creatively, and the people who greenlit that one probably should have their mouths washed out with some Lifebuoy soap.
By bringing back Billingsley, as well as much of the original core cast, this upcoming holiday sequel already has a leg (lamp) up on the others. In addition to appearing in the film, Billingsley will also serve as a producer, which he has had some success at doing in the past. He was an executive producer on a little film called Iron Man, and helped bring the Tony Award nominated stage production of A Christmas Story: The Musical to Broadway. He also was part of two other modern Christmas classics; producing Four Christmases and taking on the uncredited role of Ming Ming in Elf, directed by his frequent collaborator Jon Favreau.
Speaking of Four Christmases, Vince Vaughn is listed as a producer on this project along with Billingsley. Together they are also producing another holiday film called Christmas With the Campbells, which is currently in post-production and stars Justin Long and Brittany Snow. With director Clay Kaytis having previously helmed The Christmas Chronicles and last year’s animated Peanuts special, For Auld Lang Syne, it seems there is certainly a lot of love for the holiday season shared by everyone on set.
The fine line of nostalgia can be quite fra-gee-lay and this film can quickly become a crummy commercial-ization of a beloved holiday classic instead of a major award. But with the original cast returning and the pedigree of all those behind the camera, we certainly think they’ll shoot their heart out on this A+++ sequel. So, who is excited for A Christmas Story Christmas? Let’s just say, we can’t put our arms down!