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Peter Billingsley returns as Ralphie in HBO Max's festive trailer for 'A Christmas Story' sequel

A Christmas Story Christmas exclusively premieres on HBO Max Nov. 17.

By Josh Weiss

Rip your tongue off that frozen pole for a moment and watch the official trailer for HBO Max's forthcoming sequel to A Christmas Story! Aptly-titled A Christmas Story Christmas, the long-awaited follow-up to the 1983 holiday classic features the return of Peter Billingsley in the role of Ralphie Parker.

The young boy who once yearned for an air rifle more than anything else in the world is now a full-grown adult, working hard to live up to his late father's legacy and give his two children the best Christmas of their young lives. Other returning cast members from the OG film include Scott Schwartz (Flick), RD Robb (Schwartz), Ian Petrella (Ralphie’s brother, Randy), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus). Newcomers to the snow-covered Christmas Story mythos are Julie Hagerty (Ralphie’s mom, Mrs. Parker; played in the original by Melinda Dillon), Erinn Hayes (Ralphie’s wife, Sandy), Julianna Layne (daughter Julie), River Drosche (son Mark), and Davis Murphy (Delbert Bumpus).

RELATED:  Steady your Red Ryder: Ralphie himself, Peter Billingsley, returning for 'A Christmas Story' sequel

Check out the trailer below:

Clay Kaytis (no stranger to the holly jolly season, having helmed the Kurt Russell-led Christmas Chronicles at Netflix) directed the sequel, armed with a screenplay he penned alongside Nick Schenk (Cry Macho). Schenk and Billingsley conceived of the screen story together, drawing from the story and characters introduced via Jean Sheperd's 1966 novel, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.

"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," Billingsley remarks in the official production notes. "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."

Kaytis initially didn't want to sign on to the project, afraid that a sequel would never be able to live up to the first movie, which has become an annual viewing tradition in millions of households. Indeed, TBS and TNT famously made a tradition out of airing the film on a 24-hour loop every time Dec. 25 rolls around for close to three decades. For many folks out there, A Christmas Story is THE quintessential Christmas movie. In the end, however, Kaytis agreed to read the script and jumped at the chance to direct.

"They had done a really amazing job of figuring out how to craft a follow-up to the story that really integrates everything I loved about the first movie; that was a huge priority for me," he admits. "Peter and Nick Schenk really figured out a way to make it work, so I went to Legendary and I said to them, ‘I need to direct this movie,’ and luckily they gave me a shot."

Schenk executive produced the feature with Mike Drake and Peter Dodd. Irwin Zwilling, Marc Toberoff, Cale Boyter, Jay Ashenfelter, Billingsley, and Vince Vaughn serve as producers.

A Christmas Story Christmas exclusively premieres on HBO Max Thursday, Nov. 17. The first movie — which is currently streaming on the platform — was directed by Bob Clark, who, about a decade prior, helmed the holiday-inspired slasher flick, Black Christmas.

Feeling festive? How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (the 1966 animated special) is now streaming on Peacock.