'Bad Santa' sequel could be released before the end of the year with shooting is set to take place in autumn.

Now, 20 years on from the first Christmas-themed black comedy, scriptwriter Doug Ellin has hinted 'Fargo' actor Billy Bob Thornton will return as Willie and has confirmed they are in the process of penning the much-wanted second instalment.

Ellin confirmed to EmpireOnline.com: ''The exact status is we're working on the script right now, and if we get it right, we'll shoot in September or October.''

He also confirms that the project remains will stick with the adult theme of the original, with ''hopefully a similar tone to the first one''.

Talking about the return of leading star Thornton, Ellin said: ''He's back and good to go.''

While nothing is set in stone, it's said Doug and Billy want the film to have the same dirty humour as the last film.

Doug told website Collider.com: ''I do, and Billy Bob wants to (have that) also.''