Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Last Man Standing's Tim Allen And Nancy Travis Really Feel About The Series' Ending

"Last Man Standing" had a tumultuous journey over the course of its nine seasons. Originally starting at ABC, the show saw Tim Allen, known for his work on the '90s series "Home Improvement," make his return to a leading role in a sitcom. This time, Allen played Mike Baxter, a marketing director for an outdoor sporting goods chain and a father to three daughters (instead of three sons like in "Home Improvement.") Nancy Travis played Baxter's wife, Vanessa Baxter. Meanwhile, Alexandra Krosney played the oldest daughter, Kristin, in the first season before Amanda Fuller took on the role from the second season onward. Similarly, Molly Ephraim took on the role of Mandy Baxter, the middle daughter, for the first six seasons before Molly McCook played her for the show's remaining three seasons. Kaitlyn Dever, who plays youngest daughter Eve Baxter, was the only one to play the role for all nine seasons.

In addition, the series also survived cancellation once — as ABC ended the series after six seasons, leading to Fox picking it up for three additional seasons. "Last Man Standing" concluded with the Season 9 finale in May 2021. With Fox's cancellation marking the end of the show, here is how Allen and Travis really feel about the show ending.

Both Allen and Travis found it difficult to say goodbye

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, both Nancy Travis and Tim Allen said they were having trouble letting go of the show.

Travis highlighted how the pandemic had made saying goodbye to the show that much harder. In pre-pandemic times, she noted, the end of a show would be marked with a wrap party during which the cast and crew could say their farewells to the show and each other. The pandemic, however, had removed the possibility, which meant a more abrupt end to the show. "You go to work, you see these people day in and day out for nine years, and then you walk away," Travis said. "And you go home, and you wake up the next day and say, 'Now what am I gonna do?'"

Meanwhile, Allen spoke to Entertainment Tonight about his attachment to the show and the performers. He noted that he'd practically watched Kaitlyn Dever, who played Eve Baxter, grow up in the series, as she was only 12 years old when "Last Man Standing" began. Allen also recalled a conversation with Travis in 2018, when it seemed that Fox might save the show after ABC had canceled it after six seasons. When the revival seemed like a possibility, Allen had called Travis to see if she'd be willing and able to return to the show. However, he kept referring to the performers as their characters, leading Travis to remind Allen that they weren't actually his family.

Showrunner Kevin Abbott agreed with Travis, but not with Allen

The show's ninth season was its last, with even Tim Allen agreeing that it was time for the show to end. In an interview with Deadline, however, Allen said that knowing the ending of the show was coming was, in a way, more difficult than a sudden cancellation. Allen noted that he spent a lot of time walking around the set, looking around to come to terms with the show ending, to no avail. Sudden cancellations, he noted — like the type "Last Man Standing" suffered at the hands of ABC — was something he was more used to because he'd dealt with that before.

Showrunner Kevin Abbott, who guided "Last Man Standing" to the end, had an opposite view. In a separate interview with Deadline, Abbott noted that he was thankful for the knowledge that the season would be the last one. "I prefer the opportunity to say goodbye, and to feel like you left nothing unsaid. Nothing unspoken. No loose ends." Abbott added. He concluded that he prefers a show to go out neatly rather than messily to allow a chance to come to terms with the impending loss.

However, Abbott did agree with Travis about the lack of a wrap party making things difficult — saying that the lack of an opportunity to say a proper goodbye made the ending feel more abrupt. Without the transition of a wrap party, the end of shooting felt like a hard stop for the show's existence, Abbott said.