Apparently, Santa Claus is comin’ to town without his head elf. Disney+ unwrapped the first look at the cast of The Santa Clauses, the original limited series set after the events of 2006’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell reprise their roles as Santa and Mrs. Claus, joined by their teenage children: Austin Kane as Cal Calvin and Elizabeth Allen Dick as Sandra Calvin. (Eric Lloyd, who played Charlie Calvin in the original Santa Clause trilogy, is not listed among the returning cast.) Neither is Bernard (David Krumholtz), Santa’s sarcastic and grumpy head elf in 1994’s The Santa Clause and 2002’s The Santa Clause 2.
Now fans are spreading Christmas jeers about the exclusion of two original Santa Clause cast members. “I need Charlie and Bernard, even in cameos,” one fan tweeted. “It’s not the Santa Clause franchise without them.”
Wrote another, “Where is Bernard!!!!!!!!?????”
In January, Krumholtz hinted he would not be returning to the North Pole when reacting to the “shocking” news of The Santa Clause Disney+ series. The Numb3rs actor previously declined to return for The Santa Clause 3, which “devalued” the character who helped Scott Calvin (Allen) take up the mantle of Santa in the original film.
“Bernard was [originally] in the third movie. They sent me the script, I had a pretty significant role. We did work out the schedule, which was going to be hellish on me, but I was going to make it work,” Krumholtz recently told Vulture. “And it was all set to go. But I would say that the character got devalued a little bit and I couldn’t in good conscience do it. The third one, I’ve tried to watch. It’s not the same. I think the first two are really special.”
By the time of The Santa Clause 3, newly-promoted head elf Curtis (Spencer Breslin) replaced the absent Bernard. In The Santa Clauses, the position is filled by Noel (Devin Bright), Santa’s trusted right-hand elf, and Betty (Matilda Lawler), Santa’s demanding Chief of Staff and job-oriented Elf.
The series also features single father and game inventor Simon Choski (Kal Penn) and his daughter, Grace (Rupali Redd), who has a love for Santa and all things Christmas.
According to Disney+, The Santa Clauses is set some time after the events of The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause and picks up with Scott Calvin on the brink of his 65th birthday. Realizing he can’t be Santa forever as he suddenly starts to lose his Santa magic, he sets out to find a suitable replacement Santa while preparing his family for a new adventure in a life south of the North Pole.
The Santa Clauses is streaming later this year on Disney+.