Will Ferrell Has An A+ Christmas Carol Callback As The Ghost Of Christmas Present In Apple TV+’s Spirited Trailer

Even with Halloween still reigning on the calendar of events, it feels like the holiday season is fast approaching. Gradually the lineup of upcoming movies is going to shift to cozy romances, musical merriment, and comedic hijinks associated with the happiest season of all. Apple TV+ is certainly ready for this scenario, as the trailer for the streamer’s new film, Spirited, touches upon two of those sweet spots and even features an A+ Christmas Carol callback through the pleasant, but ghostly, Will Ferrell.

Co-writer/director Sean Anders, previously known for the Daddy’s Home movies and Instant Family, has delivered another modern twist on A Christmas Carol in this streaming original. As we see in this first reel of footage released by Apple (opens in new tab), we've got a new Scrooge in Ryan Reynolds’ character, Clint Briggs. The man is about to undergo the usual odyssey of personal change through spectral interference, and that includes palling around with the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell). 

This iteration is a bit different from what Dickens fans may be used to though. As you saw above, Ferrell’s variant can’t even get the name of Tiny Tim straight when trying to recall the events of Charles Dickens’ oft adapted story. Events which The Ghost of Christmas Present clearly lived through, otherwise he wouldn’t be attempting this A+ callback. 

It’s all part of the freshness that Spirited adds to its approach, which goes even further according to the film’s official synopsis: 

Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. Clint Briggs turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself reexamining his own past, present and future. For the first time, 'A Christmas Carol' is told from the perspective of the ghosts in this hilarious musical twist on the classic Dickens tale.

If that wasn’t enough, Spirited boasts Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer in its cast, and The Greatest Showman songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul providing the tunes. That’s a lot of exciting components going into what could be a potential future holiday favorite. Of course, for all of that to work, you need to have a pair of leads who share a special chemistry about them.

That’s obviously not going to be a problem when it comes to Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, who both shine verbally sparring with one another in the trailer. That’s in addition to the previous lighthearted internet shenanigans and Step Brothers inspired birthday messages that Spirited has inspired between the two co-stars.

Watching Ferrell trying to entice Reynolds to walk through a door all mysterious like shows just how well their collective schtick meshes together. Which leads to a very important question regarding Spirited’s casting process. In a musical that pairs Ryan Reynolds with the songwriting team of The Greatest Showman, how is frenemy Hugh Jackman not involved? 

Sure, Jackman and Reynolds are re-teaming for Deadpool 3, and that should be a blast for all involved. Not to mention the actor may have been a bit busy tap dancing up a storm in The Music Man on Broadway. But a holiday musical between the two feels like a natural fit. Perhaps there’s a chance that a secret cameo/appearance is already included, and the world doesn’t know about it yet; but for now that's just a hope expressed in this very moment.

As it stands, musical comedy and holiday cheer seem to be on the way with Spirited. Feeling as lighthearted as you’d expect from a movie of its sort, Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell have chemistry to spare in just this trailer alone. We’ll get to see the final results soon enough, as this movie will have a limited theatrical release, starting on November 11th. Meanwhile, those of you with an Apple TV+ subscription will be able to stream Spirited as of November 18th.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.