While it's definitely unfortunate that Last Man Standing is gearing up to deliver its final season to fans (again) when the new year starts up, the silver lining here is the totally unexpected Home Improvement crossover that's going down, with Tim Allen reprising the grunt-happy role of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor for the first time in ages. After all, what better way to knock out the awfulness of 2020 than with a double dose of Allen's two most beloved TV characters? As it happens, though, making that crossover happen wasn't just all fun and games for the actor.
In bringing Tim Taylor over to Last Man Standing, Tim Allen took some mental trips back in time to his years on Home Improvement, which aired from 1991-1999. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Allen shared that things got particularly emotional when he reflected on the 2003 death of former co-star Earl Hindman, who memorably starred as the Taylors' neighbor Wilson W. Wilson, though without ever fully showing his face. Here's how Allen put it:
It was challenging for me to do both parts and kind of emotional. I adored [Earl Hindman] and we kind of brought that up in the story. I started thinking about all the history I had with that TV show, how I compare it to my life on this show. It's all about loss, is all I kept saying in that episode.
If Earl Hindman was anything like his character Wilson, then that would definitely be a major loss, considering Wilson always had just the right anecdote, historical analogy or philosophical concept to use as a parallel for whatever problems Tim was dealing with. It sounds like the character will be mourning Wilson's in-universe death when he arrives on Last Man Standing, which should lead to a potentially sob-worthy moment or two.
We don't know too much at this point about the Home Improvement and Last Man Standing crossover, with Tim Allen and the show's creative team keeping mum about the details. That said, Allen did share that Tim Taylor is no longer working on his cable access show Tool Time, and has become more of a behind-the-scenes force within the corporation Binford Tools. That said, he is indeed mourning the death of his neighbor, as well.
While we're not sure yet why Tim Taylor first crosses paths with Mike Baxter, but Tim Allen shares that viewers probably shouldn't expect them to be BFFs right from the start. In fact, even though Mike is assisting Tim during this coping period, Allen describes their relationship as being "antagonistic." And as shown in the first trailer for the crossover episode, Mike is not a fan of Tim's grunting.
With a time jump incorporated, Last Man Standing will make its Season 8 debut on Fox on Sunday, January 3, at 8:30 p.m., following Mayim Bialik's new comedy Call Me Kat, which itself follows NFL football. While waiting to see Tim Allen 2.0, check out our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule and our Winter and Spring TV guide.