Disney Company Officially Takes Back Tim Allen After ‘Lightyear’ Failure

in Disney, Television

Tim Allen in a gray button up smiles next to Buzz Lightyear at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Credit: Disney

Tim Allen is back at The Walt Disney Company despite clashes over political viewpoints. Some fans are disappointed with The Shaggy Dog (2006) actor’s decision to return to the “woke” media corporation.

Allen’s “big break” started at Disney-owned ABC in the early 1990s. He starred as Tim “The Toolman” Taylor in eight seasons of the critically acclaimed Home Improvement. Amid his sitcom success, Allen hit the big screen as Scott Calvin (Santa Claus) in The Santa Clause (1994) and as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Pixar’s Toy Story (1995).

Santa Claus (Tim Allen) looking very serious and mean
Credit: Disney

The actor returned to Disney for sequels including Toy Story 2 (1999), The Santa Clause 2 (2002), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), Toy Story 3 (2010), Toy Story 4 (2019), and The Santa Clauses, a Disney+ series with two seasons under its belt. He’ll also star alongside Tom Hanks in the upcoming Toy Story 5 (2026).

Despite Allen’s consistent relationship with the Mouse, the actor and the entertainment giant haven’t always been picture-perfect. His ABC sitcom Last Man Standing caught flack for its open conservative rhetoric, though it stayed on the air from 2011 to 2021.

Fans speculated that Disney replaced Allen when it announced that Chris Evans would star as Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear (2022). The film tells the story of the real-life astronaut who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy in the Toy Story universe. Allen noted that he knew all along that he wouldn’t star in the film and that it had “nothing to do with [my] character.”

(L-R) Tim Allen, Pamela Anderson, and Richard Karn on set of 'Home Improvement'
Credit: ABC

Allen has also received backlash on social media, where he’s posted anti-LGBTQIA+ comments and supported President Donald Trump. Some fans have asked Disney to halt its relationship with the actor, as the company boasts inclusion efforts. Others blamed Lightyear’s box office failure on Allen’s exclusion from the film.

The tables turned last week after Allen posted his first on-set photo from a new ABC sitcom, Shifting GearsThe show revolves around Matt, a widowed classic car restoration shop owner whose estranged daughter and her teenage children suddenly move in. Some conservative fans were disappointed to see the actor back at the Mickey Mouse-adorned building. Allen wrote:

Here I go again. Shooting my new ABC pilot. Great cast, great crew. We shoot Friday in front of live audience. More to come.

“On ABC? I thought you’d do something more….conservative. I guess if the money is right 🤷🏽‍♂️,” @TexanAngry replied.

“I can’t wait to hear about it,” said @johncmiller96. “I don’t like ABC though.”

For his part, Tim Allen stayed quiet about The Walt Disney Company’s political affiliations and even defended the company in 2022. Right-wing Christians called for a boycott of The Santa Clauses because elves jokingly held up signs reading “We Love You Satan” (a misspelling of “We Love You Santa”).

Allen promised his fans to center the Christian story of Christmas in the series.

tim allen and David Krumholtz in the santa claus
Credit: Disney

“It originally had a lot of otherworldly characters, and ghosts, and goblins,” Allen told TheWrap. “I said no, this is Christ-mas. Its Christ-mas. It literally is a religious holiday. We don’t have to blow trumpets, but I do want you to acknowledge it. That’s what this is about. If you want to get into Santa Claus, you’re gonna have to go back to history, and it’s all about religion.”

Shifting Gears is scheduled to premiere on ABC in 2025.

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