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Christmas Again - What We Know So Far

The 2000s heyday of the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) is gone — don't expect TV franchises with the high-profile audiences of "High School Musical," "The Cheetah Girls," and "Teen Beach Movie" any time soon — but the basic cable network does still turn out some family-friendly film content now and again. The channel recently aired "Descendants: The Royal Wedding," the most recent installment of a relatively new franchise. It ended in a cliffhanger that may foreshadow more to come (via Deadline). And now, this holiday season, it's debuting a new DCOM that should bring back warm fuzzy memories of previous Disney favorites while channeling the enchantment of the season. 

"Christmas Again" definitely appears to be taking some cues from "Groundhog Day" in its story about a girl who makes a wish that doesn't turn out like she planned. If you're looking forward to this new take, you won't have to wait too much longer.

What is the release date for Christmas Again?

Disney Channel announced that the project had started production in November 2020; filming was expected to continue until mid-December (via The DisInsider). It was shot on location in Chicago, Ill., according to the Chicago Sun-Times. As a holiday movie, "Christmas Again" has certain deadlines it must meet to capture its seasonal audience, so the fact that it's coming after Thanksgiving and before Christmas is no surprise.

On Aug. 18, Disney Branded Television announced that "Christmas Again" would debut on the Disney Channel at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 3 (via Disney Plus Informer).

Once it's shown there, the TV movie is expected to move to the Disney+ streaming service, but there's no word yet on when that might happen. So, if you want to catch it as soon as it's out, you might need to set your DVR. However, Disney often airs its movies multiple times, especially if it does well in the ratings, so you might be able to catch it a few times during the first month of winter.

Who's in the cast of Christmas Again?

The protagonist of "Christmas Again" is Rowena, or "Ro," who is played by Scarlett Estevez — whom current Disney fans might know from the fourth season of the show "Bunk'd." You might also have seen her in "Daddy's Home" and "Daddy's Home 2," or the TV series "Lucifer," where she played Trixie Espinoza as a cast member for five seasons.

Daniel Sunjata, of "Manifest" and "Graceland," plays Ro's father while Alexis Carra ("An Honest Reflection") plays her mother; the two characters are going through a divorce that informs much of the movie's action. Priscilla Lopez ("Maid in Manhattan") plays Abuela Sofia and Tony Amendola ("Stargate SG-1") plays Abuelo Hector, while Gary Anthony Williams ("The Dark Knight Rises") plays Santa Claus. Ashlyn Jade Lopez ("The Vampire Diaries") and Beth Lacke ("High School Musical: The Musical — The Series") also star. 

"Christmas Again' will be directed by Anthony Fickman from a script penned by Doan La. Fickman and Betsy Sullenger are executive producers (via D23). 

What is the plot of Christmas Again?

You can definitely expect heartwarming vibes with this Disney Channel production. Ro is described as a high-spirited 11-year-old who is experiencing big emotions stemming from the fact that her parents' divorce is not going very smoothly. She wants things back the way before — without her father's new girlfriend and the girlfriend's son. So, when she accidentally meets a mall Santa Claus, she makes a wish that has her reliving Christmas over and over again. Like similar movies that have come before, the girl must figure out how to accept her circumstances before time starts to progress naturally again. There's also something about learning the true meaning of Christmas, because of course there is.

So viewers probably won't see anything new or edgy in "Christmas Again." It deals with a common trope and clearly won't be straying far from the kid-geared Disney Channel brand — but that's not necessarily a bad thing if you're looking for sweet, uncomplicated, and predictable fare during an often stress-filled time of year.