One of the most beloved characters from Disney’s popular Santa Clause franchise was missing from the third and final movie in the series, and fans have never really understood why. Bernard, Santa’s head elf, stole a number of scenes in The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2. Unfortunately, the elf wasn’t around for 2006’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, and the story has always been that actor David Krumholtz had a scheduling conflict. That’s only partly true, apparently.
Krumholtz recently spoke to Vulture about The Santa Clause, the 1994 film starring Tim Allen that has become a bonafide Christmas classic over the last couple of decades. When asked about The Escape Clause, Krumholtz explained that his schedule at the time was certainly hard to work around, but it was ultimately the treatment of Bernard in the script that kept him from making the film.
“Well, the story about my scheduling is true, but somehow also untrue. Yes, I feel that way. Bernard was in the third movie,” Krumholtz explained. “They sent me the script, I had a pretty significant role. We did work out the schedule, which was going to be hellish on me, but I was going to make it work. And it was all set to go. But I would say that the character got devalued a little bit and I couldn’t in good conscience do it. The third one, I’ve tried to watch. It’s not the same. I think the first two are really special. The first one’s a classic, obviously. It’s wild to be part of something that’s lasted this long, that plays every single year and has become tradition in people’s homes. I could never have imagined that I’d be having this conversation years later.”
Despite being one of the most popular characters in The Santa Clause, Bernard wasn’t able to finish out the story alongside Scott Calvin. That said, the first Santa Clause is far and away the most memorable of the entire series, and every fan remembers Krumholtz’s contributions to the film as much as they do Allen’s. It only took two movies for Bernard to earn his place in Christmas history.
What do you think of the Santa Clause movies? Are you disappointed that Bernard wasn’t in the final film? Let us know in the comments!