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SYFY WIRE Christmas

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

Get your Red Ryder BB guns and pink bunny suits ready.

By Matthew Jackson
A Christmas Story (1983) Ralphie Peter Billingsley GETTY

We live in an era of legacy sequels that aim to return, often decades later, to the fictional worlds we once loved. But even with that in mind, it might have been a little harder to see this one coming. Entertainment Weekly reports that A Christmas Story, the perennial holiday favorite about a boy and his yearlong quest to get a BB gun for Christmas, is getting a decades-later sequel with the original star, Peter Billingsley.

Billingsley will return to the role of Ralphie Parker, who we first met as a kid in Ohio back in 1940, when all he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder air rifle. The original A Christmas Story film, released in 1983, chronicled Ralphie's quest to get his most-prized Christmas gift at all costs, from slyly suggesting it to his parents to making a last-ditch Christmas Eve effort to ask Santa to make his wish come true. Though it was not very successful upon its initial theatrical run, the film found a second life in the home video and cable markets, and eventually became a Christmas staple. For years now, it has been presented as a 24-hour Christmas Day marathon on TBS and TNT, cementing its place in the seasonal rituals of families everywhere.

In the years since A Christmas Story, Billingsley has been less active in front of the camera and considerably more active behind it, becoming a successful producer whose credits include Dinner for Five, Iron Man, and F Is For Family. He also directed the 2009 comedy Couples Retreat and appeared in Jon Favreau's Christmas classic Elf and the Marvel hit Spider-Man: Far From Home.

For the new film, titled A Christmas Story Christmas, Billingsley will portray Ralph Parker as an adult in the 1970s, who takes his own children back to the house on Cleveland Street (the original house used in the film is now a tourist attraction) in an effort to give them the same kind of magical Christmas he remembers from his childhood, as well as to make peace with the memory of his Old Man (played by Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story). The film will be written by Nick Schenk (Cry Macho) and directed by Clay Kaytis (The Christmas Chronicles), and is expected to make its debut on HBO Max.

This is not the first effort to make a sequel to A Christmas Story. In 1994, original director Bob Clark returned to the Parker family for My Summer Story, a film that, like the original, was inspired by the writings of Jean Shepherd. While it was intended as a direct sequel of sorts, My Summer Story featured an entirely different cast, save for Shepherd himself, who again served as narrator, and of course, the film was not a Christmas movie.

Another sequel materialized in 2012 with A Christmas Story 2, though that film was not directly based on Shepherd's writings, and did not feature any returning cast members. This time around, HBO Max is hoping that the nostalgia factor of a years-later sequel, coupled with Billingsley's return, will create yet another seasonal staple.