'Last Man Standing' Star Molly McCook 'Hopes' for Kaitlyn Dever's Return (Exclusive)

Last Man Standing star Molly McCook is hopeful fans will get to see Kaitlyn Dever back on the show soon. Dever, who recently starred in Olivia Wilde's directing debut Booksmart, plays the youngest Baxter sister on the Tim Allen-starring series. Thanks to her packed schedule though, Dever has not been on the show since the Season 8 premiere.

"She's the best and she's everyone's favorite, which is completely understandable," McCook told PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview. "We just love having her around, and we've all been talking about her every day and watching her success. And I know that she wants to be back. So if there's time in her schedule, I know that she'll make it happen."

Dever was a regular member of the Last Man Standing cast until the show was canceled following Season 6. When Fox revived the show for Season 7, she could only come back in a recurring capacity. She still made an appearance in a handful of episodes, whenever Eve was home from her time at the Air Force academy. However, thanks to her success in Booksmart, Netflix's Unbelievable and other commitments, she has only appeared in one Season 8 episode.

"She's a star, and we've always known that," Last Man Standing executive producer Kevin Abbott told TVLine in December. "She's a phenomenal talent, and nobody deserves all of these accolades more than she does. She's just so gifted and such a wonderful, genuine person. With that being said, yes, she is just crazy busy."

Abbott said everyone on the cast still talks to Dever, adding, "We like to get her on for a few episodes each season because she’s a part of our family, and she works really hard to do that."

Without Dever, the show brought in Krista Marie Yu, who plays Jen, a foreign exchange student who lives with Mike (Allen) and Vanessa (Nancy Travis).

"All of [the Baxter daughters] have moved out of the house, and Mike and Vanessa have this kind of empty nest syndrome," McCook explained to PopCulture.com. "They're missing what it feels like to have a kid right there in their home under their roof, and so the character of Jen has kind of brought that energy back and given them that purpose."

The show also recently tackled some more serious topics, like miscarriage and marriage. McCook said it "does seem" that the show is purposefully taking on these topics, especially as the show ages.

"Knowing what the show has been for all of these years, I do feel like they've done such a beautiful job of, yes, telling the jokes and getting the right laugh, because that's what the show is, but also making sure to be honest about life and life decisions and our relationships with each other," she said. "Life isn't just cracking jokes and laughing and messing around. It's very serious sometimes. And I think that's the whole entire moral of the show, is navigating life and how our mom and dad helped us with those things. How our husband or wife helps us with those things. Our sister. I just find that very real and I think they've done such a beautiful job telling those stories."

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Last Man Standing airs at 8 p.m. ET Thursdays on Fox.

Photo credit: FOX Image Collection via Getty Images