In Last Man Standing's first six seasons, fans watched Kaitlyn Dever's Eve Baxter evolve through her teenage years, often excelling at life where others faced only awkwardness. However, since Dever is one of the leads in the upcoming Netflix miniseries Unbelievable, she's stepped back to being a recurring star, so Eve won't be around quite as often for the upcoming seventh season on Fox. Executive producer Kevin Abbott recently addressed that issue, explaining when and how Eve will be appearing in Last Man Standing's future.
She's in the first episode, [and] she will be in the third episode. Kaitlyn Dever's marvelous and of course she took other work while we were off... She's currently doing a Netflix show, but they're being really, really accommodating. Kaitlyn's working really hard so that whenever she has a break, we will film her. We're going to write B-stories [in advance] for the purpose of being able to shoot her in a scene and then drop it into a later episode.
Considering Last Man Standing already had a couple of casting changes within the Baxter's younger generations, not having Kaitlyn Dever's Eve around as often would possibly shake the familiarity up a little too much for longtime fans, even if the series still retains its core draws from Tim Allen and Nancy Travis as the heads of household. But it sounds like the creative team is working on ways to keep the youngest Baxter daughter around as much as possible, even if it means having to alter the production schedule.
Kevin Abbott's revealed to TVLine that Last Man Standing will keep with Eve's narrative that saw her accepted to the Air Force Academy, which will play into how the character pops up. In his words:
We'll visit her sometimes there, and she'll come visit us sometimes. Our goal is to have her as often as we can. . . . At the very least, every few episodes she'll be in it.
While many established shows out there might have just found one or two episodes to feature Eve in, rather than potentially adding further complications to anyone's lives, Last Man Standing and Kaitlyn Dever obviously agreed it was important to have the character around to the extent of everyone's capabilities. Even if it's just for a few quick and scattered scenes that could be filmed over a few days' time, it's something. Maybe we'll get to see another music performance or two?
For Netflix's Unbelievable, Kaitlyn Dever will be playing the role of Marie, a teenager charged with lying about having been raped, and the miniseries will follow Toni Collette and Merritt Wever's detectives who are trying to unravel the truth behind the complicated situation. I imagine it was already pretty jarring for the actress to have gone from the multicamera airiness of Last Man Standing to something so dramatically heavy as Unbelievable, and it's even more unnerving to think about her bouncing between the tonally opposite projects at regular intervals.
In addition to the other updated and familiar faces, the Baxter family will also be welcoming in a new unofficial family member in Season 7 when Dr. Ken vet Krista Marie Yu arrives as Jen, a foreign exchange student whose geology interests win Vanessa's favor. It's possible that Jen was created specifically to offset Kaitlyn Dever's potential absence, with producers not being sure about how her scheduling situation would work out. But it sounds like we just might get to see Eve sharing a scene or two with her new co-star.
Now a Fox property that may or may not be holding grudges against its former network home, Last Man Standing will make its much-anticipated return for Season 7 on Friday, September 28, at 8:00 p.m. ET. (Which is the same as its former timeslot on ABC.) To see what other shows will be hitting your radar soon, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.