Disney has no plans for another film in The Santa Clause franchise, but the second season of The Santa Clauses will premiere on Disney+ in November 2023.
A third sequel to the Disney Christmas classic The Santa Clause has not been announced, but the continuing life of the franchise leaves the possibility an open question. The original film premiered in November of 1994, starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a divorced dad who accidentally causes the death of Santa Claus, leading to his magical transportation to the North Pole and initially reluctant acceptance of the Kringle mantle, becoming the new Santa Claus. This is because of the titular “Santa Clause” that provides the legal definition of how the succession of Santas should occur in the event of a Santa’s death.
The Santa Clause seemed quirky at first, but has since become a beloved Christmas film that will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. While it might seem like this would mean the movie is in It’s a Wonderful Life territory, destined to merely be repeatedly watched over decades and generations, this is Disney we’re talking about, so of course there were sequels.
The Santa Clause 2 took eight years to happen, releasing in 2002 after its predecessor had enough time to earn its place in holiday cinema history. This film introduced “The Mrs. Clause,” which mandated that Santa had to get married. While certainly a contrivance demanding a degree of expository retconning, the new film introduced Elizabeth Mitchell as Carol, who would become Mrs. Claus by the end of the film and stay with the series thereafter.
In terms of feature films, there wasn’t much “thereafter” for sequels to The Santa Clause, with The Santa Claus 3 (2006) performing the worst of the bunch. Following a slight dip in returns for the second film ($190 million to just under $172 million) with a steep slip to just short of $111 million in global receipts, the third film seemed to spell the end for the Clauses. And, for over 15 years, it did.
But then Disney Christmas magic brought us The Santa Clauses, a Disney+ series that launched in November of 2022 with a six-episode season. The series—one of the Top 5 most watched original series on Disney+ from Nov. 3 to Dec. 31—was renewed for a second season, which is set to premiere this November. According to Deadline, the new season will feature Eric Stonestreet as Magnus Antas, the Mad Santa, who tries to take over the North Pole.
In the first season of The Santa Clauses, Scott Calvin had planned to retire, but was unable to find a worthy successor, so he and his family are back at the North Pole for Season 2. But they will now be up against Magnus Antas, who ruled the North Pole in the 14th century and wants it back. Meanwhile, Scott will be teaching his son Calvin the ways of the Santa so that he can carry on as his father’s successor in the future.
All of that history in the Santa Clause franchise might have been unimaginable nearly 29 years ago when it first showed up as an oddball Tim Allen vehicle. But now, the question of whether The Santa Clause 4 might bring the franchise into its fourth decade is certainly (if speculatively) on the table. Given the direction of the streaming series, things could either be winding down to a denouement for Allen or winding up for a whole new chapter with the next Santa, Austin Kane’s Cal Calvin Claus.
If The Santa Clause continues to have a life on the big screen, it will first have to do well enough on the small screen to warrant investment from Disney. Whether there is a planned ending for the streaming series is unclear, though word on a third season is not expected any time soon. If the series does well, it could potentially spawn a feature film, and with this franchise, there could be years between the two.
Given the possibility of The Santa Clause 4, perhaps even as a planned move after The Santa Clauses, it would make a lot of sense for Scott’s son to now be taking over the role of Santa. At that point, though, the series would be in real danger of becoming a simple rehash, treading the same territory with Cal adjusting to his new role, followed by the inevitable triggering of his “Mrs. Clause,” and so on. Already, the Magnum Antas story feels familiar, harkening back to the robot-Santa-turned-dictator of the second film and the Santa-toppling scheme of Martin Short’s Jack Frost in the third.
And therein lies the real question of the future of The Santa Clause: whether there are more stories to tell. If there aren’t, we’re hopeful there will be a big bow on the franchise at the end of The Santa Clauses. If there are, we’ll have to see if the magic stays around or if a fourth film end up in the return bin after Christmas.