When we last saw the Baxter brood of Last Man Standing, there was a baby on the way, and a kid who came back home after an absence. Since then, a lot has changed in their world and ours — and when TV Guide spoke to showrunner and executive producer Kevin Abbott about what's in store for Season 9 way back in May, he suggested fans will definitely see some of the ways the world has changed show up in the series.
So what's on deck for the Tim Allen-led sitcom when it returns for Season 9, which has been confirmed as its final season? Here's everything we know so far.
The ninth season, premiering in January, will be its last. Fox announced in October that Last Man Standing will conclude with its ninth and final season, which premieres in January. (No exact premiere date has been set.) In a statement, Allen said, "I've been one lucky dude to have been part of Last Man Standing. I so appreciate the incredible support from our fans over this near decade of work. As we approach the ninth season, I just admire and feel grateful for all the hard work our wonderful cast and crew have done. We had all considered to end the show after last season, but together with Fox, we decided to add a year so we could produce a full season to create the gentle and fun goodbye. I'm looking forward to a memorable and hilarious final season."
Coronavirus will be part of the show. Showrunner and executive producer Kevin Abbott said the COVID-19 pandemic has to be part of future storylines, just because that's what's happening in the world right now. "The world has changed," Abbott told TV Guide. "Everything we had planned has gone out the window." The virus would have affected the Last Man Standing universe, he said, and they'll be looking at how Outdoor Man and Bud's Buds will be impacted by lockdown orders, financial hardship, and more.
Expect to see more Eve. Fans hadn't seen a lot of Eve (Kaitlyn Dever) until her return in the Season 8 finale, which aired April 30. In "How You Like Them Pancakes," Eve came home on a break from the Air Force, ending a streak that had her away from the bulk of Seasons 7 and 8. Dever has been pursuing a film career with her team's blessing, working on projects including the movie Booksmart and the Netflix series Unbelievable, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
In a conversation with TV Guide, Allen said he wants her back more in the future. "My preference would be, yes, to have her on more. If she's a fighter pilot for the Air Force, we're not sure how much she's allowed to see us. She'd be in Europe. We'd have to schedule it around her flight training. But my guess is, as much as possible, we'd have her on. We love her and we love to honor our military."
Mike and Ryan will see their viewpoints rub off on each other. Tim Allen told TV Guide that Mike Baxter and his son-in-law Ryan (Jordan Masterson) will start to understand and appreciate each others' point of view more. With Ryan running Bud's Buds, the cannabis shop previously owned by Mike's father, his appreciation for business makes him see the value in Mike's fiscally conservative viewpoints. And, wouldn't you know it, Mike starts to understand more of Ryan's point of view too. "I'm going to learn from him, and he's going to learn from me," Allen said.
And of course... a new baby! Last but not least, there's going to be a new addition to the family! Amanda Fuller told TV Guide that the show had intended for fans to see Kristin having the baby in the final episode of the season, but production was halted early due to the pandemic. How that story pans out now may very well call for some new creative solutions, so it's unclear now if we'll see the actual labor or if we'll skip ahead. Either way, a new bundle is one the way.
Last Man Standing concluded Season 8 in April. Previous episodes are available to stream on Hulu.