Fans of the iconic National Lampoon's Vacation franchise are getting an early Christmas present this year, as it's been announced a series based on the films is in development at HBO Max with franchise star Johnny Galecki producing. According to Variety, the series will be titled The Griswolds, and will follow the family after they've returned to their lives in the suburbs of Chicago after returning from vacation. It will reportedly be a half-hour single-camera series, but at this time there is no word on casting.
To date, the Vacation franchise has a total of five major motion pictures in its catalogue: National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), Vegas Vacation (1997), and 2015's Vacation, which was a franchise reboot starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate.
There was also a mad-for-TV spinoff of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in 2003, titled National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure. It featured Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn reprising their roles as Cousin Eddie and Catherine, as well as Dana Barron reprising her role as Audrey Griswold.
Over the years, Galecki has become more well-known for his roles in iconic TV shows such as Roseanne, its spinoff, The Conners and Big Bang Theory. But before either of those, he starred as Russ Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
In 2018, he sat down with Variety and spoke about what it was like to work with Chevy Chase as a child actor. When asked if he gained and "comedy experience" from the legendary star, Galecki quipped, "They don't depend on many young people to do the heavy lifting of comedy.
"That was a real challenge because the Rusty role was kind of iconic at that point and did have some heavy lifting comedically, and my timing wasn't on-point," he added. "Chevy would help me out, especially with the timing, and tell me some ad-libs to say. He was very patient and giving of his time."
"This was only my second time in Los Angeles, and I was 13 on that movie, and he would take his lunch hours and — without telling any of the production assistants or anyone — we'd just get in his car and disappear and go to film lots and visit the sets of Ghostbusters 2 and Harlem Nights," Galecki continued. "Here I am at 13 being introduced to Redd Foxx and Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray and Richard Pryor and all these incredible, incredible comedic icons. He didn't have to do that, and it's still very touching to me."
At this time, there is no word on when The Griswolds will debut.