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SYFY WIRE Interviews

'Violent Night 2' in early development; director teases 'Die Hard 3' & 'Christmas Vacation' influences

Mrs. Claus, the elves, and that famous North Pole workshop are all on the table!

By Josh Weiss
David Harbour in Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola.

Odds are very good that David Harbour's Santa Claus is coming back to town! Hopping on a Zoom call with SYFY WIRE today to discuss the movie's physical home release (you can pick up the Blu-Ray and DVD editions tomorrow, or else check it out on Peacock now), director Tommy Wirkola confirmed that a sequel to Universal's breakout Christmas hit, Violent Night, is now in the early stages of development with co-writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller expected to turn in another holly jolly screenplay.

"Yeah, we're negotiating deals and getting all that sorted. We are talking about ideas," Wirkola said. "It's very early in the process, but for sure, I think we’re gonna hopefully get to work on a script in not too long and get Pat and Josh writing and we'll see what comes of it. It’s all very exciting. I think we're all hoping, because the movie did well and people embraced it, that we can go back and tell another story. I would certainly love it."

Inspired by the classic action films of the 1980s like Die Hard, Violent Night stars Harbour as an ass-kicking version of Kris Kringle forced to go up against an army of mercenaries trying to rob a fortified family compound on Christmas Eve. The film, which brought in over $75 million worldwide, hinted at a much wider universe for the character, including a bloody origin story for this take on St. Nick, who began life as a pillaging Norse warrior before discovering a magical sack of presents.

RELATED: 'Violent Night' writers have ideas for butt-kicking Santa sequels

"I don't know if I want to say too much because it's so early. [Things] might change because we haven't really started on a script yet," said a wary Wirkola when asked about what ideas are being thrown around at this stage in the process. "But yeah, we didn't see the North Pole, we didn't see the elves, we didn't see Mrs. Claus. And also, the first film was just one location, one mansion. We want to try to go a little bit bigger — not too much, but expand upon the world and the characters [while still keeping] the same sense of humor."

While he couldn't go into any detail about what the sequel's plot might entail, he did assure us that the entire Violent Night team fully intends to perform a deep dive on Santa's backstory as a hammer-wielding juggernaut of the Viking era. "We did shoot some more of that in this film and had Santa talking about it, but we felt really early on, ‘You know? If we're lucky enough to do a sequel, let’s just not spell everything out here. Maybe we can get lucky enough to actually show it in a second film,'" the filmmaker teases. "So that is the hope."

In addition, Wirkola strongly hinted that the third Die Hard installment could serve as a major touchstone for the second Violent Night movie — "There's some elements there that we love," he said of With a Vegenance — which seemingly implies that a relative of Mr. Scrooge (John Leguizamo) might turn up in the North Pole for some stone-cold revenge.

"This is a type of film [that allows you to] really draw on films that you loved growing up, it being a Christmas movie, but it also being attributed to the old-fashioned action movies of ‘80s and ‘90s," he concluded. "We have an idea for a story that pays tribute to different elements from a few different films. But I would say more so than the first one, it will probably be its own thing. But we still hope to bring in a lot of [influences] that [helped] make the first one [like] Home Alone and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We still want to do that because that’s part of the fun."

Violent Night is now streaming on Peacock and arrives on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 24.