Elf: Why Will Ferrell will never make a sequel

Elf (Credit: New Line)
Elf starred Will Ferrell and helped him become a household name (New Line)

Elf will soon be celebrating its 20th anniversary of delighting viewers during the festive period, but even if the film continues to be loved by audiences it will never receive a sequel.

The Christmas classic stars Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who was accidentally transported to the North Pole and lived amongst Santa Claus's elves until he reaches adulthood and decides to travel to New York City to find his real father (played by James Caan).

Read more: 17 things you might not know about Elf

It became an instant hit, earning $220m worldwide and helping to cement Ferrell as a household name in the world of acting after previously being known for his time as a comedian with SNL.

Elf may bring Christmas cheer to all those who watch it but Ferrell has no desire to return to one of his best loved films in order to make a sequel — here's why.

Why Will Ferrell will never make an Elf sequel

Will Ferrell in Elf (Credit: New Line)
Elf follows Ferrell's Buddy, who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby and decides to find his real father after reaching adulthood (Credit: New Line)

Ferrell has spoken candidly about his decision to turn down an offer of $29m in order to make a sequel to Elf, saying he felt the script was "not good".

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2021, the actor shared how he felt it was easy to say no to the follow-up: "I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would've been, like, 'Oh no, it's not good. I just couldn't turn down that much money.'"

"And I thought, 'Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'"

Ferrell has previously said he turned down $29m to appear in an Elf sequel because he felt the script was "not good" (New Line) (Cinematic Collection, Cinematic)

This is not the first time Ferrell has expressed his disinterest in making the sequel, saying in 2013 that he felt it would be "pathetic" to return to the role of Buddy.

He told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live at the time: “I just think it would look slightly pathetic if I tried to squeeze back in the elf tights, Buddy the middle aged elf."

Read more: The best Christmas films of the 21st century

Ferrell's character appeared in the 2022 Christmas advert for Asda, in footage from the original film that has been spliced together into newly shot scenes in the supermarket. Which appears to be the closest we'll get to a sequel.

While Ferrell has often shared his lack of enthusiasm for an Elf sequel, Caan has said that the reason a sequel has not yet been made is because of animosity between Ferrell and Elf director Jon Favreau.

Ferrell's co-star James Caan said the reason a sequel wasn't made is because of animosity between Ferrell and Elf director Jon Favreau, who are pictured together on set (New Line) (Maximum Film)

Speaking in a radio interview in 2020, the actor said there was a time where they were very close to making a sequel but it fell through because Ferrell and Favreau didn't get on.

He explained: "We were gonna do it and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I finally got a franchise movie, I could make some money, let my kids do what the hell they want to do.’

"And the director and Will didn’t get along very well. So, Will wanted to do it, he didn’t want the director, and he had it in his contract, it was one of those things."

Favreau spoke of the possibility of making a sequel with Yahoo in 2016, sharing that he felt it would be good if the film remained a stand-alone Christmas classic because a sequel would muddy its legacy.

Caan said that Ferrell and Favreau "didn’t get along very well" and claimed that the actor had a clause in his contract stipulating he wouldn't make a sequel if Favreau was involved (New Line). (AJ Pics)

“In the beginning there was talk of sequel, and it never came to be, probably for the best as now it exists as its own thing," Favreau told Yahoo.

"But it comes up. I hear from the studio who pitch me different takes on it. There is part of me that wonders if there’s anything to be done to follow-up ‘Elf’, but I think a straight sequel is probably not the right move.”

The director added: “I do have tremendous fondness for that film and you don’t want to do anything to screw up the legacy of it."

Elf is available to rent or buy on digital.