‘Last Man Standing’: How Show Producers Pulled Off Tim Allen’s Mike Baxter’s Series Finale Moments With Eve

by Matthew Wilson

“Last Man Standing” brought back a familiar face for the finale. Kaitlyn Dever’s Eve returned to say goodbye in the episode’s closing.

Unfortunately, the actor didn’t show up on the sitcom in the flesh. Instead, Dever’s character appeared via a video chat conversation with her father. It was a similar approach to how Ever appeared during the Season Nine premiere. In the finale, Eve finally accomplished her Air Force dream, something she’s been chasing for most of the series.

“Obviously, we wanted to get Kaitlyn whenever we could,” showrunner Kevin Abbott told CinemaBlend. “She’s just an enormous part of the show and our family over there. Before COVID, what we had working against us is that she’s a phenomenal actress and gets a lot of work.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped Dever from appearing in the flesh on the show. Producers were unable to put her through the proper quarantine protocols to film the episode. Instead, they resulted to a Zoom call as a backup.

“So we tried everything we could, and we were only able to get her on Zoom on the show,” Abbott said. “But you know, I thought that actually worked pretty well because it gave us a head-fake ending in the memorial scene and then a really compelling, emotional moment between Eve and Mike.”

Kaitlyn Dever Says Goodbye to ‘Last Man Standing’

Before viewers think Kaitlyn Dever phoned in her performance, the “Last Man Standing” star was actually on set to say goodbye. She interacted with the crew and cast. But she was unable to film with them due to the required social distancing guidelines.

“We were able to get her on the stage for the filming of that,” Abbott continued. “She couldn’t be with the cast, because the cast was all going to be maskless, and we couldn’t get all the protocols done for that. We were able to physically see her, but we couldn’t put her physically in the scene.”

The cast and crew debated ways to sneak Dever into the scene. But they decided on the video chat because it felt more organic given the restrictions. Ultimately, Abbot is happy with how the scene played out.

“So it kind of was the best of both worlds where she’s in the show, and the cast and writers who were there got to see her again for one last final time, and that was great. It was really special,” he said.