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Ron Burgundy and his news team are finally heading back to the big screen, and, well, it’s kind of a big deal — which is why we put it on the cover of EW’s annual Fall Movie Preview issue.

It’s been nine long years since the 2004 cult comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy introduced the world to Will Ferrell’s blow-dried, sexist, jazz-flute-playing San Diego TV newsman and his action-news gang: weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), sportscaster Champ Kind (Dave Koechner), and field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd). Though only a modest success at the time, the movie went on to become one of the most beloved — and frequently quoted — comedies of the past decade. Yet for years, Ferrell and director Adam McKay struggled to get a sequel off the ground. “We all resigned ourselves to the fact that it was never going to happen,” says Carell. “It just didn’t seem to get any traction.”

Set a few years after the first movie, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (in theaters Dec. 20) finds Ron Burgundy — who has lost everything and been reduced to announcing the dolphin show at Sea World — getting a shot at redemption when he and the rest of the team are recruited into the new world of 24-hour cable news. “The idea that Ron Burgundy would suddenly be on this national stage always seemed hilarious to us,” says McKay, who briefly explored the idea of doing the sequel as a Broadway musical before bringing it to the screen. For his part, Ferrell is just amazed that the cult of Anchorman has endured for so long. “Someone sent me and Adam a photo of a troop transport carrier in Baghdad, in the days when the Iraq war was still pretty nasty,” Ferrell remembers. “Ron Burgundy’s face was stenciled on the side and it said, ‘Stay classy, Baghdad.'” He laughs. “That was one of the craziest things.”

Of course, Anchorman 2 is just one of many highly anticipated movies coming down the pike this fall. EW’s Fall Movie Preview delves into 105 other eagerly awaited titles, with exclusive details about everything from the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, to the Tom Hanks thriller Captain Phillips to the second installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy and beyond.

For more on Anchorman 2 and other fall movies, pick up the new Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
  • Movie
  • 119 minutes