Fox’s “Last Man Standing” is heading big in its final time, with an episode showcasing Tim Allen in his leading role of Mike Baxter and reprising Tim “The Device Man” Taylor, the legendary character he performed on ABC’s “Home Improvement” for 8 seasons from 1991-1999.

The bit will occur in the 2nd episode of “Last Gentleman Standing’s” upcoming ninth time, when Vanessa hires a home enhancement repairman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mike, who is struggling with an idea for his Outdoor Man 10th Anniversary vlog. And the thought for this epic fifty percent-hour, which airs Jan. 7 on Fox, arrived about since the broadcast community desired to kick off the sitcom’s closing time with anything flashy.

“We experienced already damaged the first seven episodes and our intention was to have the ‘Time Flies’ [flash-forward] be the very first episode. And Fox came to us and stated, ‘We’d enjoy it if you could appear up with some large promotable function.’ And I normally hate that, particularly on this present, where by we notify smaller sized tales about family members conversation,” “Last Male Standing” showrunner Kevin Abbott informed TheWrap. “Plus, it’s complicated to arrive up with some huge promotable celebration that takes place in our small earth.”

Abbott ongoing, “And so as I was bitching and moaning about it, my writers had been basically considering about it. And Jon Haller came back and said he’d been considering about stunt casting and mentioned, ‘You know, we’ve experienced virtually all the names from “Home Improvement” on the display and the just one we actually have not experienced is Tim Taylor.’ And I went, ‘That is just good. That is good.’”

Abbott calls the thought just one of individuals ones “where it is like, how did we not consider of this right before?”

“It would seem so clear, so wonderful and but we didn’t think of it prior to. So we all acquired really thrilled about it,” he mentioned, incorporating, that he “felt fantastic that we’d be equipped to land the actor.”

And, of class, they did, but Allen was quite particular about how he wished his beloved “Home Improvement” character to seem on “Last Person Standing.”

“So the very first hurdle you have to leap is to get Tim to signal off on it. I want to make absolutely sure that he preferred to engage in it — which he did, he totally embraced the thought, with the proviso that we would honor that character, not make pleasurable of him or just about anything, which we would under no circumstances do,” Abbott explained. “I really appreciated ‘Home Improvement’ and Matt Williams and David McFadzean and Carmen Finestra, who created ‘Home Improvement,’ were being genuinely type and generous in allowing for us to use the character and certain iconic symbols from the exhibit and bits. So we ended up likely to bend above backward to not give them any cause to regret enabling us to do that.”

While Abbott states his “first instinct” was to go damaging (Tim Taylor’s “gotten divorced and he’s down on his luck and he’s now just a handyman”), he “got disabused of that idea fairly quickly.”

“I appreciate operating with Tim, so I say that kiddingly due to the fact it is a extremely collaborative method,” he mentioned. “We held likely at it and speaking about it and conversing about it right up until we bought to a area where by we thought this was humorous and fascinating. Tim was telling me it genuinely variety of influenced him due to the fact what that episode is about in conditions of panic of moving on — and fear that you’re going to be significantly less-than and you’re going to be losing — and when you’re in a place where by you really like some thing, shifting previous it is complicated. And we’re in our last season, so a lot of this resonated with Tim. And it was genuinely good. It was a fun episode to do.”

Immediately after obtaining the blessings of the “Home Improvement” creators and Allen, the “Last Gentleman Standing” team continue to experienced to wait around it out to see if Fox would be in a position to get authorization from Disney (the enterprise that holds the legal rights to “Home Improvement”) to use the Tim Taylor character for the episode, which is aptly titled “Dual Time.”

“It took a when. There are more substantial lawful hurdles than you would consider in all of that. It was the working day ahead of the desk read that I obtained authorization to basically go forward with the episode. And that was only mainly because I threatened, ‘I’m looking at it anyway.’ So they lastly agreed to it,” Abbott claimed, laughing.

Abbott and his writers know the ins and outs of Mike Baxter heading into the ninth time of “Last Man Standing,” which aired its 1st six seasons on ABC prior to it was canceled and then revived at Fox, but they clearly weren’t familiar with producing Allen’s occupation-building position.

“Tim gave me one of the box sets of ‘Home Improvement’ so I viewed a bunch of individuals to remind myself what the character was like and everything,” Abbott stated. “And they’re different, so attempting to make certain that we differentiate the people was complicated. And Tim wished to make specific that we had been telling a story about Tim Taylor as nicely. That we weren’t just bringing in anyone to have in the instant and then go on, that there had to be a again story and a actuality to that character as well. And it took a lot of discussions to land the place we landed on everything, due to the fact he wished to make selected that we did it correct. That it sounded legitimate to him that that’s what occurred to Tim Taylor.”

So what did materialize to Tim Taylor — who, last we saw on the “Home Improvement” sequence finale, was dwelling in Detroit, Michigan with his loved ones — and how did he make his way around to Colorado for this episode of “Last Male Standing”?

“I can’t try to remember how a lot stayed in just after the edits, but Tim Taylor now works for Binford Instruments,” Abbott explained. “He’s a significant muckety-muck in that corporation and he travels around carrying out excellent handle at the numerous Binford Equipment. You could have observed their merchants on the corners [in ‘Last Man Standing’]. But Binford has franchised out a spot now that has several areas and he was in city traveling to the Denver retail store and examining them out. And he’d been instructed by a good deal of persons that there is a guy that does this vlog referred to as ‘Outdoor Man’ that he appears to be exactly like. So he had to go see this man, he had to go meet up with this dude. And boy, they do glimpse alike.”

“Last Guy Standing” airs its ninth and last season premiere this Sunday prior to going to its typical Thursday time-slot up coming 7 days. With a very good chunk of the season already damaged, Abbott knows how he desires to wrap items up — but is continue to in the system of crafting his ending.

“I do have an plan what the series finale is and I can tell you it is Mike’s journey this year. A ton of moments in excess of the sequence we have had Mike as a massive force in other people’s journeys, that Mike is type of this continual. This yr, it is about Mike Baxter and the pandemic has created him reassess things, reassessing exactly where he would like his existence to go transferring ahead and what does he do about ‘Outdoor Man.’ I’m by now fiddling around with it, due to the fact issues do transform as we go forward, but I imagine it’s heading to give the viewers a perception of closure and a feeling of hope.”

Year 9 of “Last Guy Standing” will premiere Sunday, Jan. 3 at 9:30/8:30c on Fox. The show will make its time-interval premiere at 9:30/10:30c on Thursday, Jan. 7.