Fans of the popular Fox sitcom Last Man Standing tuning in to see how events from the season finale unfold may be disappointed as the show isn’t picking up where it left off. The ninth and final season will feature a time jump to the near future. But producers are letting slip how the Baxter family managed in 2020 and the challenges that lay ahead.
Last Man Standing showrunner Kevin Abbott recently told TVLine that the final season will take place in 2023. Producers wanted to avoid having to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and awful events of 2020.
“People are depressed enough without having to look for us to be depressed,” executive producer Abbott told the website. “[The time jump] allowed us to tell stories from a positive point of view while addressing the impact [the pandemic has had] on our characters. They all change in a way.”
The Last Man Standing season premiere is Sunday Jan. 3 at 9:30 p.m. EST.
What to Expect In the Final Season of ‘Last Man Standing’
So, how is the Baxter family faring in 2023?
“Mandy has been a career woman dedicated to her business, [and we find out that] her fashion line actually did quite well during the pandemic,” Abbott said. “But she discovers that what she really cares about most is being with her baby, so she pulls back to become a stay-at-home mom.
“She has to grapple with how she feels about that in terms of identifying as somebody’s mother, as opposed to identifying as me,” Abbott explains. “She’s still going to be Mandy, but time will have changed her. Motherhood will have changed her.”
“(Kyle) is moving forward with becoming a pastor,” Abbott continued. The crises of 2020 only strengthened his faith. “… He is now stronger and much deeper [into his new career], and we have a few stories about that.”
Tim Allen’s Mike Baxter and his wife Vanessa will have to consider their future as well. Mike is set to retire from his lifelong job as Outdoor Man, and he needs to find a successor as well as a new direction for himself.
Producers have also hinted at some major events ahead for the show’s final 21 episodes. The big Home Improvement crossover episode is set for Jan. 7, when the show returns to its normal Thursday at 9:30 p.m. EST time slot.