Everett Collection
Maureen Lee Lenker
December 14, 2017 AT 04:48 PM EST

If the idea of the Mamma Mia sequel has you going more “SOS” than “How can I resist you?” never fear — Amanda Seyfried assures us that the follow-up film is even “better than the original.”

Seyfried, who portrays Sophie in both films, tells EW that she initially found the notion of a second film suspect. “Truthfully, when they were like, ‘We’re making Mamma Mia 2,’ I was like, ‘That’s going to be terrible.’ But it’s not! It’s amazing.”

The film, officially titled Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again, checks in on the characters from the first film in the present day, while also focusing more wholly on Donna (played by Meryl Streep in the first film) as a younger woman — here portrayed by Cinderella star Lily James. “As soon as you see Lily on screen, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Donna! I’m seeing Donna when she was wild and young and free, and she has the essence that Meryl brought to it,’” says Seyfried. “And it’s kind of extraordinary.”

Seyfried adds that she had the “time of [her] life” filming Here We Go Again. “I actually had a better time than I did shooting the first movie. Everybody’s back together and it’s been 10 years. There’s so much love and so much family that it’s infused 100 times in this movie. It was so unexpected for me.”

Like the first film (and the stage musical that inspired it), the sequel will feature a score made up of ABBA songs. Seyfried promises we’ll hear “Angel Eyes,” as well as several reprises of favorites from the first film. Beyond that, she’s mum on the details, but promises a lot of “new stuff” and says she’s “wild about the songs.”

More than anything, Seyfried is excited for viewers to learn more about Donna and her past. “Of course I want to know more about Donna. She’s effervescent and inspired and amazing and has such a spirit. Meryl brought such light to this character and then you see Lily playing Donna, and it’s seamless,” Seyfried says. “The movie’s better than the original because there’s a depth to it that only comes from time.”

Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again hits theaters July 20.

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