‘The Santa Clauses’ EP on Eric Stonestreet’s Mad Santa — Plus Season 2 Sneak Peek (VIDEO)

The Calvin family is back with The Santa Clauses Season 2, premiering with the first two episodes on Wednesday, November 8 on Disney+.

This season Tim Allen (Scott Calvin/Santa Claus) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Carol/Mrs. Claus) are joined by some legendary figures from The Santa Clause including Kevin Pollak (Cupid) and Michael Dorn (Sandman), who have made their way back to the franchise years later. Along with welcoming back old friends, this season has lots in store with new characters, new problems, and even a new Santa … who is maybe more of an old Santa.

Below, director and executive producer Jason Winer talks about some of his favorite parts of the season, including an homage to The Godfather Part II, creating the history of Santa Claus all the way back to 1400 B.C., and working with his friend Eric Stonestreet again. Plus, watch an exclusive sneak peek above.

Season 1 focused on getting viewers accustomed to a world where Scott Calvin is no longer Santa, which didn’t exactly work out. He tries to find a replacement, but ultimately that backfires and Scott is back where he started. What does that mean for the focus of Season 2?

Jason Winer: I think part of the reason that this franchise — as opposed to some others that Disney has tried to sort of dip into the history and expand — really works is that there’s a brilliant core idea to the movies that launched this franchise, which is the notion of Santa Claus as a mantle that gets passed along, rather than a singular person. That idea is implicit in the notion that a Santa fell off Scott Calvin’s roof and gave him the coat and then he had to take over. I don’t think they considered the sort of world building implications of that. But if there had been multiple Santas, then there is this history to who has been Santa, then there is this future about who might become Santa, and the series really explores that. If the first season is a little bit about Scott Calvin realizing maybe he’s at the end of his journey of being Santa, this one really dives into who was Santa before.

What can you say about the role of Magnus Antas, The Mad Santa?

The Mad Santa is the character played by Eric Stonestreet with such inventiveness, glee, and creativity. Eric’s goal was to create a classic Disney villain in the vein of Cruella de Vil that if kids were to see him at, say, Disneyland, they wouldn’t know whether they wanted to hug him or run away. He wanted to walk that line, and I think he nailed it. Eric is a trained clown, went to clown school, and we use that obviously in his Modern Family character, but as a result, he’s incredibly adept at creating a character from the outside in. He worked with Annie Bloom, our costume designer, to design the look of Mad Santa, and once he put it on, the way that that Santa talked and all that came flowing out of him, and he just really created this character.

Marta Kessler and Eric Stonestreet — 'The Santa Clauses'

Disney/James Clark

How does this shake things up for Season 2?

This is what makes the Season 2 story bonkers in a wonderful way. Mad Santa reigned the North Pole in the 14th century. So, we have flashbacks to the 14th century, which I just think is insane. I challenge you to find another show with flashbacks to the 14th century. He’s been trapped all these years in the perfectly appropriate Santa Claus way, which is inside of a Nutcracker. Scott Calvin’s big move, which was giving all the world magical snow globes to ignite the Christmas spirit at the end of the first season, has now come back to haunt him because those magical snow globes have triggered the reemergence of Mad Santa into the world.

How did Eric Stonestreet, who you previously worked with on Modern Family, come to be Mad Santa?

He reached out to both me and Jack Burditt when the first season was airing saying that it was a dream of his to play Santa Claus because he saw that people he knew were involved in this show. So honestly, we had him in mind, and when Mad Santa was actually mentioned in the first season as the darkest part of the history of the North Pole, it’s just an offhanded mention that Betty makes, but the audience really seized upon it. It triggered the imagination. There were a lot of mentions on Twitter and throughout the blogosphere about Mad Santa. That interest combined with Eric’s interest triggered Jack Burditt’s imagination, and thus Eric became the Mad Santa.

Elizabeth Mitchel, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, Austin Kane, Tim Allen, Gabriel Iglesias, Devin Bright, Matilda Lawler (From L to R)


In the movies, there were plenty of pop culture references. Are there any viewers should look out for in Season 2?

My homage for this season was The Godfather Part II because I thought to myself, “What’s the most famous most successful sequel that also delves into the history of the subject matter?” It was The Godfather Part II. All of the flashbacks are done very specifically in the style of The Godfather. The music switches to that old world instrumentation and all the elves are dressed like they’re arriving at Ellis Island when they’re arriving at the North Pole. Then I had our colorist imitate the color palette, we added film grain, and we blurred all the highlights to look like those flashbacks in Godfather Part II, which just makes me giggle that we’re doing this inside the context of something as ridiculous as Santa and the North Pole.

In honor of homages, were there any callbacks to the films that you were more most excited for this season?

We’re always trying to connect the story and mythology of the series to the original films in surprising ways. This season we have many of them including the legendary figures returning, who were actually in various drafts of scripts from the first season but we had so much to accomplish that they fell out. The legendary figures become important to the story of the second season, and we were so excited to get cameos from some of the original returning actors. Unfortunately, the actor who played Easter Bunny has passed away, but we have Tracy Morgan filling in as the Easter Bunny, which we were all really excited about.

One of the big ones is this particular mug that is the only actual prop from the films that we inherited on the show. It became significant in the first season, we used it a bunch of times just as a prop. You see Scott Calvin in the first movie drinking from this mug, and then we put it in Mad Santa’s hand in the 14th century to suggest that the mug goes all the way back to that time. Then we explain it as a key plot point that ties a bunch of things together. So, it’s really in the movies, and we inherited it and then it became a key part of the story that ties a bunch of things together. That’s just part of the fun way that we like to tie the whole thing together.

You mentioned that “Mad Santa” was an offhanded comment in the first season that received a lot of unexpected attention. Do you think there will be something in Season 2 that will receive a similar reaction?

There’s a runner in the first season about the elves hating gnomes. Every time a gnome is mentioned, they go “ugh, gnomes” which I thought is so funny. In the second season, we introduce you to the gnomes. But it comes up this season that the gnomes hate the trolls. So, I’ll be interested to see if anybody picks up on that runner because it feels like a layup that we introduce the trolls then in the third season.

Have you noticed any similarities in directing a show with such a big history behind it versus other shows that you’ve directed?

It’s a wonderful advantage for the show. The franchise has legions of fans, and people love it so much. It’s an important part of their childhood and their holiday experience. But there’s a tremendous responsibility that comes along with that, and I learned in the first season when the eldest son is called Cal. The audience was furious because they were aware that the son born at the end of the third movie was named Buddy. The thing is that Jack Burditt was fully aware of that, we were all aware of that, and his full name is Buddy Calvin Claus, and they call him Cal for short. It’s mentioned several times, but it’s not mentioned until like the third episode. So people were furious about it until they realized that it wasn’t a mistake. It’s an example of how passionate the fans of the franchise are and how careful we have to be to make sure everything we’re doing tracks with their experience of the story thus far.

What would your perfect gift be?

A Season 3 order.

The Santa Clauses, Season 2 Premiere, Wednesday, November 8, Disney+