Tim Allen is a lucrative commodity for the Disney-Pixar Corporation. In 1994, the comedian starred in the film Santa Clause, which became such a big success that Disney saw a franchise in the making. Immediately, they went to work on a series of Santa Clause movies with the original film being a “staple” holiday watch for many families.
However, when Disney executives approached Allen to star in a Santa Clause limited series to be released in November 2022, the veteran actor had a massive problem with the script. “It originally had a lot of otherworldly characters and ghosts and goblins,” Allen told TheWrap. “I said, ‘No, this is Christ-mas. It’s Christ-mas. It literally is a religious holiday.’”
That’s when Allen says he decided to take a stand to put Christ back in Christmas. “We don’t have to blow trumpets,” he said. “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, Santa Clause’s 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.
According to Breitbart, The Santa Clauses has already earned the ire of the left for a line of dialogue uttered by Allen’s character: “Saying Merry Christmas to all has suddenly become problematic!” But that’s not all. When Allen told the Disney executives “to go back in history” to acknowledge Christmas and said the legend of Santa Claus is steeped in religion, he was correct.
Most know the nativity narrative found in the Gospels. However, the legend of Santa Claus’s origin is found in the real-life Saint Nicolas from the 3rd century who became the patron saint of children. Saint Nicholas made his first inroads into American popular culture towards the end of the 18th century. In December 1773, and again in 1774, a New York newspaper reported that groups of Dutch families had gathered to honor the anniversary of his death.
According to History.com, in 1841, thousands of children visited a Philadelphia shop to see a life-size Santa Claus model. It was only a matter of time before stores began to attract children and their parents with the lure of a peek at a “live” Santa Claus.
Perhaps the most iconic department store Santa is Kris Kringle in the 1947 classic Santa Claus movie Miracle on 34 Street. A young Natalie Wood played a little girl who believes Kris Kringle (played by Edmund Gwenn, who won an Oscar for the role) when he says he is the real Santa Claus. Miracle on 34 Street was remade in 1994 and starred Lord Richard Attenborough and Mara Wilson.
This isn’t the first time Tim Allen took on Disney. The Emmy-nominated comedian publicly slammed the Disney Corporation for replacing him as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story spin-off movie Lightyear, which ended up being a box-office disappointment.
Allen’s good friend actress Patricia Heaton also blasted Disney’s decision. “Saw the trailer for Buzz Lightyear and all I can say is Disney/Pixar made a HUGE mistake in not casting my pal Tim Allen in the role that he originated, the role that he owns,” Heaton tweeted. Some Toy Story fans speculated whether Allen was replaced with actor Chris Evans due to his conservative beliefs. “You’ve gotta be real careful around here. You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes,” Allen said in 2017 about being a conservative actor trying to stay afloat in Hollywood.