Santa Claus is coming back to town, once again played by Tim Allen. And in “The Santa Clauses,” religion will come into play, according to the man in red himself.
The series, which premieres its first two episodes on Disney+ on November 19, follows Scott Calvin (Allen) well into his tenure as Santa Claus. But, he’s about to turn 65, and becomes acutely aware that he can’t be Santa forever. “He’s starting to lose a step in his Santa duties, and more importantly, he’s got a family who could benefit from a life in the normal world, especially two sons, one that grew up in Lakeside, Illinois (Charlie) and one that grew up at the Pole (Buddy)” the official synopsis reads. “With a lot of elves, children, and family to please, Scott sets out to find a suitable replacement Santa while preparing his family for a new adventure in a life south of the pole.”
How exactly religion will come into play remains unclear, especially considering the original trilogy of films never explicitly went in that direction. But, according to Allen, it was important to him that “The Santa Clauses” did, and avoided any kind of crazy creatures or spirits.
“It originally had a lot of otherworldly characters, and ghosts, and goblins. I said no, this is Christ-mas. Its Christ-mas. It literally is a religious holiday,” Allen told TheWrap. “We don’t have to blow trumpets, but I do want you to acknowledge it. That’s what this is about. If you want to get into Santa Claus, you’re gonna have to go back to history, and it’s all about religion.”
According to the actor, the “Santa Clauses” team found “a brilliant way” to incorporate religion into the story, but it won’t come until episodes five and six. “It’s really wonderful. They took a chance, and we did it really well,” Allen added.
Beyond incorporating religious elements into the series, Allen really only had one other major stipulation as executive producer: the series needed to respect the movie franchise. Other than that, the actor told TheWrap, he didn’t want to get himself too muddled in the details.
“It’s a strange thing, on ‘Last Man Standing’ I was also EP and I knew where I wanted to go with that. And Jack Burditt was also the writer of that, that he is with us. And it’s not easy for him or for me,” Allen explained. “I write, I’ve written movies and I’m really the plot guy. So that’s kind of where I’m at with this. And I get very confused with too much detail.”
He continued, “I need to know where we’re going at the end of this beat. And it took quite a bit of massaging from both the Disney folks and Jack to get chapter one — which I call [this] a six-chapter book — I needed that to launch this thing. Respect the last one and let’s not be too gamey with it.”
You can watch part of TheWrap’s interview with Tim Allen in the video above.