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SYFY WIRE Santa Claus

Tim Allen promises 'The Santa Clauses' will answer lingering fan questions

Tim Allen explains how The Santa Clauses came to be: "It wasn't going to happen on my side unless it made some sort of sense and paid homage."

By Tara Bennett

Ho, ho, hold it! Wanna feel your age? Then take a chug of that eggnog and process that The Santa Clause, a contemporary holiday modern classic starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin — a toy salesman-turned-Santa Claus — just celebrated its 28th anniversary this month. Since then, it's also evolved into a full-out franchise with two sequels, The Santa Clause 2 (1994) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). However, there hasn't been a new installment in 16 years... until now. A brand new, sequel series, The Santa Clauses, debuts on Nov. 16 on Disney+. 

Allen returns as Scott/Santa, along with Elizabeth Mitchell as Carol/Mrs. Claus. The ensemble for the series also includes Allen's actual daughter Elizabeth Allen-Dick as Scott's daughter Sandra Calvin-Claus and Austin Kane as Buddy "Cal" Calvin-Claus. Kal Penn joins the fun as game inventor Simon Choksi along with Rupali Redd, who plays his daughter, Grace. The six-episode season, which is set 28 years after Scott assumed the red cowl and sleigh, addresses the toll that Scott's Santa gig has taken on this actual family, and has him exploring retirement.

Allen spoke with SYFY WIRE during a press event ahead of the premiere, and we asked if the new series was born of his interest in shaking off Santa's coat or something else. 

"It was birthed as an idea, I'm sure, originally from the business side to fill Disney+," Allen says, candidly. "But it, wasn't going to happen on my side unless it made some sort of sense and paid homage. Listen, I'm a sci-fi guy. I like stories that make sense, especially when talking about the mystical realm. And so I said, 'We opened up doors in The Santa Clause that no one ever answered. And all my sci-fi people online, forever, [asked] what happened to the original Santa? He was on the roof, slipped, and died! What happened? How come the other elves never mentioned it? We will answer that. And about who Mrs. Claus really is.

"And we'll answer about the lineage of Santa Claus, where he came from," the actor continues. "It is a Christian holiday, so I kept telling him, 'You gotta at least deal with it. You don't have to sing trumpets with it, just deal with it and just move on.' This is a holiday and it's not about druids or aliens. It's about magic. And the magic came from somebody out of nowhere, deciding to give people something they didn't have. It's about giving, and it's simply that. Getting is the other side of giving and all of that is dealt with." 

For actress Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), she admits the mere concept of the mythology coming back, and including her in it, might as well be a Christmas miracle. "It was such a surprise," she says. "I was supposed to be off doing something else and then at the last minute, [the producers] were like, "Do you want to come and be Carol again?" I'm like, "Yes, YES!'"

"But I didn't believe it," she adds with a laugh. "I didn't think it was gonna happen until I was on set. I kept calling my manager, which I never do, and I was like, 'Is this really happening?" And he's like, "Yes, it's really happening." This is even after we made the deal. I'd call him like once a month and be like, "Are you sure, Ben? Is this really happening? He's like, "Oh my God. What is wrong with you? Yes!"

The appeal wasn't that different for actor Kal Penn who admits to being a hardcore Christmas aficionado who loves films like A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and The Santa Clause, which dropped in theaters when he was in his late teens. "I genuinely love holiday movies, and especially Christmas movies, so when the phone call came for this one, I couldn't have been more excited," Penn shares.

As to how he got pitched being part of this new series, Penn says, "Jason Winer, who's one of our EPs and our director, he and I worked years ago on a movie called Van Wilder together. We stayed in touch. He reached out to me and said, "Hey, there's this super secret holiday movie — I think that's how he described it — and I'd love to send you the first of the six chapters and see what you think." And at that point, I realized, 'Oh, this is The Santa Clauses. This is amazing! And I basically was like, 'I don't need to read the rest of them. I want to do this, no matter what the arc of the character is. This would be great."

The first two episodes of The Santa Clauses premiere on Nov. 16 on Disney+.