The 1994 feature film “The Santa Clause” introduced the story of Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), an ordinary man who accidentally knocks Santa Claus off the roof of his house. Calvin finishes delivering the presents and then learns he must become the new Santa Claus.
Two movie sequels continued the story but there has been no news of Santa Claus since 2006 when “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” was released. That changes with the new Disney+ series, “The Santa Clauses” that debuts Nov. 16 on the streaming service with the first two episodes in the series.
Allen reprises his role as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus who is now living in a very different world. The jolliness has gone from his belly because the popularity of Christmas continues to decline. Scott is struggling with dealing with the great demands of the job and his family that includes Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell) and their two children.
When Scott learns there is a way to retire, he considers stepping down as Santa Claus and finding a worthy successor to take over the sled. That would give him time to become a better father and husband.
Since last portraying Mrs. Claus, Mitchell has played a variety of different roles on television and in film. Her credits since the 2006 movie include “Lost,” “V,” “Once Upon a Time,” “The Purge: Election Year” and “The Expanse.”
Mitchell admits that her “secret dream” was to return to the role of Mrs. Claus.
“I didn’t – in any practical way – think it would happen,” Mitchell says. “I was very, very surprised when they called. I just didn’t think it would happen, especially as a series. I just didn’t have it in my head that it was a possibility.
“So, I think my secret kid inside wanted it to happen and I am grateful and happy that it did.”
While Santa is dealing with his problems, Mrs. Claus has her own concerns. She is trying to help her husband through his Christmas crisis while being the mother to Buddy “Cal” Calvin-Claus (Austin Kane), Scott’s youngest son and Carol’s only son, and Sandra Calvin-Claus (Elizabeth Allen-Dick), the youngest child of Scott and Carol.
Although Mrs. Claus is upset she has no first name, it has not stopped her from being the heart of the whole Christmas operation.
“She feels that she runs the family, the house. I think that’s what makes it so interesting when she decides to go off on her own path discovering what she loves again,” Mitchell says.
Kane wasn’t even born when the original movies were released but he was well aware of the productions when he got cast.
“I watched them all the time when I was growing up,” Kane says. “Thankfully I have an older sibling and older cousins so this was a tradition for us at Christmas time to watch the films.
“I loved picking the brains of those who were involved in the films to find different ways to play my character.”
The Colorado native is very young but has already amassed a long resume of acting jobs. His credits range from the “Lethal Weapon” TV series to “The Burned Photo” podcast series.
Santa actually has two families. Along with Mrs. Claus and his children, Santa has a family of workers who help him accomplish his annual present-giving trek. Matilda Lawler plays Betty, the person in charge of the entire operation while Devin Bright plays Noel, Santa’s sidekick.
Lawler, who is best known for starring in the film “Flora & Ulysses” and the HBO Max miniseries “Station Eleven,” was drawn to the series because of the opportunity to play such a strong character.
“First of all she is the first female head elf,” Lawler says. “She is the person behind the curtain. She is the one who is making sure everything is under control.”
Bright loved the idea of getting to play a character who is so close to Santa Claus. He sees Noel as being Santa’s best friend and right-hand man.
“He makes sure that Santa knows everything. That the list is right,” Bright says.
Just like Kane, neither of the young actors were born when the original “The Santa Clause” movies were released. Lawler explains that despite those films being released before she was born, she has found that they are very popular with people in her age group. She knew the films but made sure to watch them again just before the audition.
Bright also knew the movies but he watched them before his audition to refresh his memory. Now he is part of a new segment of the franchise for those who have been longtime fans and an introduction to those who don’t know “The Santa Clause.”