'Last Man Standing' Star Tim Allen Reveals His 'Emotional' Return to 'Home Improvement' Character

It's been over 20 years since Tim Allen was seen on TV as Tim Taylor, the do-it-yourself guru of Home Improvement, but the actor brought the beloved Tool Time host back one more time for a Tim Taylor and Mike Baxter face-off on his series Last Man Standing. Allen opened up about his "emotional" experience stepping into the role again with Entertainment Tonight ahead of the show's season 9 premiere.

Without giving too many details, the actor revealed the upcoming episode will pick up with Taylor who, after losing his show, begins working for the corporate side of Bedford Tools. Baxter begins helping the former host get adjusted to his new role, but the two seem to butt heads on more than one issue.

"It was very peculiar to do both parts, I'll tell you that. It was challenging for me to do both parts and kind of emotional," Allen told ET. The 67-year-old actor admitted that a large part of his emotions stemmed from the loss of his former co-star Earl Hindman's death in 2003. Hindman played the role of Allen's neighbor, Wilson from 1991 to 1999.

"I adored the man and we kind of brought that up in the story," Allen said. "I started thinking about all the history I had with that TV show, how I compare it to my life on this show. It's all about loss, is all I kept saying in that episode."

Also contributing to the less than normal circumstances on set are the new coronavirus protocols, which have caused many shows to pivot to new models that require actors to perform without studio audiences. Last Man Standing resumed production in October after it was forced to halt due to the pandemic.

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"That was the first episode back," he said. "So getting used to no crowd, and then having people direct me in a character I developed 20 years ago and then was kind of done with, it [was hard]." Additionally, viewers can expect a reference or two about the pandemic in the new season's story. However, it may offer a refreshing sense of hope.

"By the time this airs... it will have been literally as the vaccine takes hold. We're kind of not through it, but the light is bright at the end of the tunnel," he admitted. "We reference it. We remember the pandemic. It's used, but it's as though our masks had just come off." The final season of Last Man Standing will premiere on Jan. 3 on Fox.