Fox’s “Last Male Standing” is likely significant in its closing time, with an episode that includes Tim Allen in his major role of Mike Baxter and reprising Tim “The Instrument Man” Taylor, the legendary character he performed on ABC’s “Home Improvement” for eight seasons from 1991-1999.

The bit will come in the next episode of “Last Man Standing’s” future ninth season, when Vanessa hires a house advancement repairman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mike, who is having difficulties with an strategy for his Outside Guy 10th Anniversary vlog. And the plan for this epic 50 %-hour, which airs Jan. 7 on Fox, arrived about simply because the broadcast network wished to kick off the sitcom’s remaining season with one thing flashy.

“We had now broken the initially seven episodes and our intention was to have the ‘Time Flies’ [flash-forward] be the 1st episode. And Fox arrived to us and said, ‘We’d really like it if you could come up with some massive promotable occasion.’ And I usually detest that, specially on this exhibit, the place we notify smaller tales about family members conversation,” “Last Male Standing” showrunner Kevin Abbott told TheWrap. “Plus, it’s hard to arrive up with some big promotable event that happens in our tiny world.”

Abbott ongoing, “And so as I was bitching and moaning about it, my writers had been really pondering about it. And Jon Haller arrived back again and stated he’d been considering about stunt casting and reported, ‘You know, we’ve had pretty much all the names from “Home Improvement” on the present and the one particular we really have not experienced is Tim Taylor.’ And I went, ‘That is just outstanding. That is brilliant.’”

Abbott phone calls the thought just one of people types “where it is like, how did we not think of this in advance of?”

“It seems so obvious, so excellent and but we did not consider of it right before. So we all bought quite psyched about it,” he said, adding, that he “felt superior that we’d be in a position to land the actor.”

And, of system, they did, but Allen was extremely distinct about how he needed his beloved “Home Improvement” character to show up on “Last Man Standing.”

“So the very first hurdle you have to bounce is to get Tim to signal off on it. I want to make certain that he desired to engage in it — which he did, he totally embraced the thought, with the proviso that we would honor that character, not make fun of him or everything, which we would under no circumstances do,” Abbott reported. “I really appreciated ‘Home Improvement’ and Matt Williams and David McFadzean and Carmen Finestra, who designed ‘Home Enhancement,’ were being truly kind and generous in making it possible for us to use the character and certain iconic symbols from the exhibit and bits. So we had been heading to bend more than backward to not give them any cause to regret allowing us to do that.”

Though Abbott claims 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 very promptly.”

“I adore performing with Tim, so I say that kiddingly because it’s a really collaborative system,” he stated. “We held likely at it and speaking about it and speaking about it right until we acquired to a put in which we imagined this was humorous and attention-grabbing. Tim was telling me it definitely variety of influenced him since what that episode is about in phrases of dread of shifting on — and concern that you’re heading to be much less-than and you’re going to be losing — and when you are in a place where you love a thing, relocating previous it is tough. And we’re in our last time, so a large amount of this resonated with Tim. And it was truly good. It was a enjoyment episode to do.”

Immediately after obtaining the blessings of the “Home Improvement” creators and Allen, the “Last Male Standing” workforce nonetheless experienced to wait it out to see if Fox would be in a position to get permission from Disney (the organization 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 even larger lawful hurdles than you would believe in all of that. It was the working day before the table go through that I received permission to basically go forward with the episode. And that was only mainly because I threatened, ‘I’m examining it anyway.’ So they at last agreed to it,” Abbott mentioned, laughing.

Abbott and his writers know the ins and outs of Mike Baxter heading into the ninth year of “Last Man Standing,” which aired its initial 6 seasons on ABC before it was canceled and then revived at Fox, but they obviously weren’t acquainted with producing Allen’s career-creating purpose.

“Tim gave me one particular of the box sets of ‘Home Improvement’ so I watched a bunch of all those to remind myself what the character was like and every thing,” Abbott explained. “And they are distinct, so making an attempt to make certain that we differentiate the figures was tough. And Tim desired to make specific that we were telling a tale about Tim Taylor as effectively. That we weren’t just bringing in anyone to have in the instant and then move on, that there experienced to be a back again tale and a actuality to that character as properly. And it took a lot of discussions to land wherever we landed on almost everything, since he desired to make specified that we did it right. That it sounded true to him that that is what transpired to Tim Taylor.”

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

“I can not try to remember how significantly stayed in soon after the edits, but Tim Taylor now operates for Binford Applications,” Abbott claimed. “He’s a superior muckety-muck in that organization and he travels close to undertaking excellent regulate at the several Binford Instruments. You could have recognized their shops on the corners [in ‘Last Man Standing’]. But Binford has franchised out a place now that has quite a few places and he was in town checking out the Denver keep and examining them out. And he’d been informed by a lot of folks that there is a dude that does this vlog identified as ‘Outdoor Man’ that he seems to be particularly like. So he had to go see this male, he had to go satisfy this person. And boy, they do appear alike.”

“Last Guy Standing” airs its ninth and ultimate year premiere this Sunday prior to shifting to its normal Thursday time-slot up coming 7 days. With a fantastic chunk of the period previously damaged, Abbott understands how he desires to wrap matters up — but is nonetheless in the course of action of crafting his ending.

“I do have an plan what the series finale is and I can convey to you it is Mike’s journey this calendar year. A great deal of periods about the sequence we’ve experienced Mike as a substantial pressure in other people’s journeys, that Mike is type of this continuous. This yr, it is about Mike Baxter and the pandemic has built him reassess matters, reassessing the place he needs his existence to go moving forward and what does he do about ‘Outdoor Man.’ I’m already fiddling all around with it, because factors do alter as we go forward, but I imagine it’s going to give the viewers a feeling of closure and a perception of hope.”

Season 9 of “Last Gentleman Standing” will premiere Sunday, Jan. 3 at 9:30/8:30c on Fox. The exhibit will make its time-time period premiere at 9:30/10:30c on Thursday, Jan. 7.