Kurt Russell has had a long and storied career in Hollywood. He’s played parts in an iconic Western, escaped from New York and Los Angeles, seen big trouble in little China, fought fires, transported a convicted killer in a stagecoach, and even once was a god planet. This guy has played nearly every role under the sun. But the acting run for Kurt Russell appears to be coming to an end, with the actor saying his final role will be the one that just hit small screens last week.
On November 25, Netflix released Christmas Chronicles 2, in which Kurt Russell reprises his role as Santa Claus and once again is tasked with saving Christmas. Director Chris Columbus said in an interview that he and Russell discussed his wish to have this be the last character he’d ever play. Columbus cites how much work and effort Russell had put into the character in order to bring Santa Claus to life, and that he wished it to be his last role. It’s unclear if that meant this movie would in fact be his last, or if a possible third movie in the franchise would be his final role.
“[Kurt] said to me, ‘I want to walk into the sunset, this being the last role I play. He wants to continue doing it. Deep down into his soul, he’s committed to this role. That means eight weeks growing the beard with little additional flourishes, working with the script every night before he shoots with me. It’s an intense commitment. And he takes it very seriously.”– Chris Columbus
The role, if it were to be his last, would be a nice way to end his career. For starters, Santa Claus, even for all of the corny sentimentality is about as iconic as it gets and Kurt Russell definitely works to bring his own flavor and style to the character. It’s a bit of a grittier version than most other Santas we’ve seen for sure, a Santa who is a bit rougher around the edges, and Russell appears motivated to make this version stand out among the crowd.
But in addition to the character, there’s also a family element tied in here as well, since in both movies, his real-life romantic partner Goldie Hawn plays his wife, Mrs. Claus. Kurt Russell and Hawn began a relationship in 1983 after both co-starred in Swing Shift. They’ve been together ever since and have two children. If Christmas Chronicles 2 were to be Russell’s last role, he’d go out working with his significant other, quite a romantic note to go out on.
According to his IMDB page, there are no projects upcoming for Kurt Russell. While not definitive, this could be one of our last chances to see the actor onscreen in a new role. After playing characters like Wyatt Earp (Tombstone), Snake Plissken (Escape from New York and L.A.), Gabriel Cash (Tango & Cash), John Ruth (The Hateful Eight), and Mr. Nobody (Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious), it sure looks like he’s going out saving the beloved holiday of Christmas.
The original Christmas Chronicles came out in 2018 and was a moderate hit for Netflix. According to reports, the movie had more than 20 million views in its first week. It also performed well enough with critics, scoring a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In Christmas Chronicles, two children try to catch a glimpse of Kurt Russell’s Santa Claus, and through an unfortunate series of events that involves Santa’s sleigh crashing and scattering all the presents, the children and Santa end up on an adventure to make sure all of the presents are still delivered in time for Christmas.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 picks up a few years later, this time seeing one of the original children now traveling to the North Pole to visit Kurt Russell’s Santa Claus, alongside Goldie Hawn’s Mrs. Claus. The Christmas Chronicles 2 is performing well with critics over the first week, with the film currently standing at 70% on the Tomatometer. Netflix hasn’t released any streaming numbers yet for the sequel, but considering the popularity of the first, as well as other Christmas movies like Jingle Jangle, this could be a big holiday for the platform.
Again, we are still hearing this news secondhand, from Chris Columbus and not Kurt Russell himself. There’s also no word if Russell would reprise his role as Santa Claus in a potential third The Christmas Chronicles film. But considering this rumor and that Russell has no upcoming projects in the works, it does look like the actor might be trying to make his exit from the screen. If that’s the case, it’s been an amazing run, one filled with decade’s worth of memorable characters on screen, and going out as Santa Claus isn’t a bad final role.