1983’s A Christmas Story has stood the test of time as a quotable Christmas classic that finds itself on the yearly watchlists of many. The story of Ralphie Parker provides the right mix of laughter and holiday spirit that combine to make a beloved film. So why did it take nearly 40 years for a sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas, to be made?
According to Peter Billingsley, who returns to the role of Ralphie in the upcoming HBO Max film, time just got away from everyone involved, but that might have been just what needed to happen to make A Christmas Story Christmas work.
There was a lot of conversation about doing a sequel much closer to when the original film came out in 1983. And then, of course, in the early ‘90s… Eventually, it seemed like a distant memory, like we’d never be able to do it. But here we are, Ralphie is all grown up, he has his own family, and it’s an opportunity to really take what was so great from the first one and bring so much of that magic back but with a whole new perspective. You see what his dreams are, where his life is now, who his family is. In some ways, waiting this long makes it all the more special because there were so many new characters that we could bring in, and so many of the old fan favorites that we got to explore as well. Always in the back of my mind I’d hoped that this day would come.
The sequel, which Billingsley produced and co-wrote, finds a grown-up Ralphie the head of the Parker household following the death of his father. His goal in the film is simple: provide a wonderful Christmas experience for his kids; however, the Parker family isn’t particularly well-known for things going smoothly. Part of the problem, according to writer and executive producer Nick Schenk, is that Ralphie is still, in a lot of ways, that little kid with the wild imagination that audiences met in A Christmas Story.
Ralphie, though, is like a lot of people who are not ready to grow up. I think secretly, that’s the most scary thing a lot of people have to deal with, when you become fully adult. Ralphie’s faced with taking on the mantle, really, and he really isn’t prepared for that. In a lot of ways, like a lot of us, at heart he’s still a kid.Nick Schenk
How will Ralphie handle the new role? What other characters, old and new, will be around to complicate things for him? Find out when A Christmas Story Christmas will debut on HBO Max on November 17th.