Disney teases new photo of Santa Clause series … without Bernard the Hot Elf

ICYMI, Disney is making a TV show based on Christmas movie classic The Santa Clause and its two sequels. The Disney Plus show, titled The Santa Clauses, will revisit Scott Calvin, as played by Tim Allen, on his 65th birthday. He realizes that he can’t keep up this Santa Clause schtick forever, so he sets out to find a replacement. Disney unveiled the first look at the new series on Twitter.

There’s a lot going on here: Santa in a button-up, Kal Penn, Station Eleven’s Matilda Lawler. But it’s what missing that caught our eye: A distinct lack of Bernard the Hot Elf in this promotional image! Justice for Bernard!

For those not familiar, Bernard the Hot Elf is actually Bernard the Head Elf, as played by David Krumholtz in 1994’s The Santa Clause and the 2002 sequel. He’s the elf who shows Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin around — and more importantly for the purposes of this article, inspired young childhood crushes everywhere. Was it the dreamy brown eyes? The gorgeous curly hair? The inexplicable New York accent?

“Perhaps I had a swagger when I was 16 years old,” Krumholtz said to Vulture in an interview.

Now, by the logic of the Santa Clause movies, it probably doesn’t make sense for Krumholtz, who is now 44, to reprise the role. The Christmas elves in the Santa Clause trilogy appear as children, even though they’re hundreds of years old. But even if the showrunners managed to explain away why Bernard is now a 44-year-old man, there is also the bigger issue of if Krumholtz even wants to reprise his role. As he said to Vulture, he skipped out on the third movie, partly because of scheduling conflicts, but partly because he felt like the script devalued the character.

Alas, Bernard doesn’t seem to be involved in The Santa Clauses — or at least, not in this promotional photo. In addition to Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell returns to the cast as Carol aka Mrs. Claus. Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar fame, meanwhile, joins as Simon Choksi, a game inventor with aspirations to become the next Jeff Bezos — who may become the next Santa instead. The show will premiere later this year.

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