Plus: James Roday, Dulé Hill, and series creator Steve Franks share 5 things you need to know about the holiday special

By Chancellor Agard
July 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT

Three years after signing off to the strains of Oingo Boingo’s “We Close Our Eyes,” fake sleuths Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill) are returning in a holiday movie that will surpass anything in the original series, if creator Steve Franks gets his wish.

As the boys face a deadly foe — the Thin White Duke (Zachary Levi), who, according to Hill, is “looking to seek, kill, and destroy Team Psych” — they’ll be reunited with the rest of the gang in their most harrowing moment yet, pictured below in this exclusive first look. This is the first time we see the entire group together in the film.

“It leads to a very intense, very emotional, and possibly most ridiculous thing we’ve ever done,” says Franks. “When everybody else is off battling bad guys and fighting the scariest foes they’ve ever fought, Shawn and Gus find a way to stumble into something that’s incredibly silly yet appropriate and sort of takes some of the tension out of the air by making the whole thing really fun.”

Check out the photo below and then keep reading on for five things you need to know about the movie.

Credit: Alan Zenuk / USA Network

1. Kurt Fuller returns for the movie

Ralph Macchio isn’t the only familiar face who will pop up in the movie. As seen in the above photo, Kurt Fuller is set to reprise his role as Woody the Coroner. According to Franks, it was never a question that Fuller would be part of this momentous event.

“Of course Kurt had to be in the movie,” says Franks. “Every day, Kurt’s part got bigger and bigger and bigger. He was so great. We can’t help ourselves. We just keep adding and adding to his part whenever we start writing.”

2. Timothy Omundson will appear in the film in some way

You’ve no doubt noticed that one important face is missing from that group shot: Timothy Omundson, who plays Detective Lassiter. Omundson is absent from the from the reunion because he suffered a stroke shortly before production began on the movie, which meant Franks and Roday, who co-wrote the script, had to rework the story.

“[Omundson’s stroke] kind of forced us to rethink a lot. First and foremost, whether or not we should be making this movie — if it even made sense and if the timing was right or not. Then beyond that creatively, how do we make that work?” says Roday, who characterizes Omundson’s recovery as “remarkable.”

After talking with Omundson and his family, they decided to forge ahead and actually found a way for their friend to be part of the experience in some capacity. “There is most definitely a way that he appears in the movie,” says Franks. “We haven’t gotten to that point [in the editing process, yet]. I can’t say for 100 percent sure that he will, but I can say like 99.99 percent that we did everything we can to get Tim in the movie.”

Roday adds: “I think we found the best way possible to keep Lassiter very much a part of what we do, set him up to succeed in the future, and still give all of our Psych-Os an opportunity to see that ridiculously handsome mug of his.”

3. San Francisco is the main setting

Psych-Os may be slightly disappointed if they were hoping to revisit some of the old Santa Barbara haunts. In the process of reworking the script, the story ended up moving to San Francisco, which is where Shawn, Gus, Jules, and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) moved in the series finale.

“It was actually nice moving it completely out of Santa Barbara because it felt new, it felt event-worthy, and it felt like were off to a new place,” says Franks, who also teases that Shawn and Gus will still be driving that two steering-wheeled drivers’ ed car they got in the series finale.

4. Gus is still searching for love three years later

One of the running jokes on Psych was how desperate Gus was to find a romantic partner, and that quest continues in earnest in the film. When we pick up three years later, Gus thinks he may have finally found the one in a woman named Selene (Jazmyn Simon, Hill’s real-life fianceé); however, there’s a good chance he may be wrong. Hill says Gus is in for a surprise when he tries out his usual pick-up lines on Selene.

“Gus gets Gus’d,” says Hill. “It’s like when the semblance of a mirror is held up to you, and how things you think should work great, you don’t really like having done to yourself. I think we’ll kind of see that experience happen with Gus a little bit.”

Hill loved having Simon on set, and his costar even thinks it may have helped get into character quicker. “Dulé hit the ground sprinting,” says Roday. “I think part of that was the very first thing we shot was with Jazmyn Simon. I think there was a little bit of a ‘Hey baby, this is how we do it,’ that was sort of motivating him to be at the top of his game right away.”

5. Henry Spencer undergoes a major sartorial transformation

The other curious detail Psych-Os may have noticed in the first-look photo is that Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen) is sporting a trendy fedora. That questionable accessory is actually a major hint as to what has gone on in Henry’s life since the show ended.

At the end of the series, Henry sold his house to Lassiter, and in the intervening years, he moves to a loft space by the docks. Soon, the area gentrifies, and Henry decides to evolve along with it instead of fighting it like a curmudgeonly old man.

“He’s become the hip old guy in the neighborhood,” says Franks. “The first time we see Henry, he’s in full hipster regalia. It’s a really fun element. It was a great way to give that character a fun new thing that he’s doing that feels lively and is fun for [Bernsen] to play.”

Psych: The Movie will debut in December on USA Network.