After years of speculation and casual promises that eventually became very easy to brush off, a sequel to 2003's Bad Santa is finally happening — with a catch. While Billy Bob Thornton has been confirmed to return (obviously), director Terry Zwigoff will not be joining in on the mean-spirited holiday fun, with Mean Girls director Mark Waters taking his place.

Per THR, Waters has signed on to helm Bad Santa 2, the long-awaited sequel to Zwigoff’s exceptionally dark holiday comedy. Thornton will reprise his role as foul-mouthed conman Willie, who dresses as a department store Santa to pull off a robbery, but unwittingly befriends an outcast kid and falls for his mother. The first film was scripted by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the team behind I Love You, Phillip Morris and Focus, while the sequel will be scripted by Johnny Rosenthal, Doug Ellin (Entourage) and Shauna Cross (If I Stay).

For those hoping that the original talent involved would return for the sequel, this may come as a bit of a letdown. And although Waters disappointed with recent films like Vampire Academy and Mr. Popper’s Penguins, he is the same guy who brought us the deliciously dark indie The House of Yes, as well as the surprisingly solid Freaky Friday remake and — never forget — Mean Girls.

Zwigoff’s absence stings a bit, particularly since he hasn’t made a film since 2006's underrated Art School Confidential. The new writing team is also a bit of a head-scratcher, but we’re willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt with Thornton’s highly devoted involvement to the project.

Also returning for Bad Santa 2 are Tony Cox as Willie’s criminal pal Marcus, and Brett Kelly as the Kid. Broad Green Pictures will co-finance and co-produce alongside Miramax, while no official release date has been determined.

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