Not many Christmas films are as dynamic as Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause. Since 1994, the film series has become a staple played in households across the world at Christmas time. While there are plenty of aspects of the popular story that helped make become the classic it is seen as now, one of the most beloved characters was sadly absent from the third and final film of the trilogy. David Krumholtz quickly became a fan favorite for his portrayal of the grumpy elf, Bernard. And while many believed his absence in the third film was solely due to scheduling conflicts, Krumholtz recently revealed another reason he didn’t come back.
In a new interview with Vulture, Krumholtz revealed that his fan-favorite character actually was written a significant role for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. The third installment, which debuted in 2006, saw the return of Tim Allen and other familiar faces, but when Krumholtz was left out, people assumed it was because of scheduling. While there is truth to the scheduling rumors, as Krumholtz at the time was starring in CBS’ crime drama, Numbers-, the actor revealed there was more to the story. Krumholtz asserts that the real reason he turned the part down was that he felt the script “devalued” his character. Krumholtz went on to say, “Bernard was in the third movie. 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,” he explained. “But I would say that the character got devalued a little bit and I couldn’t in good conscience do it.”
First appearaning as the head elf Bernard in 1994 alongside Tim Allen, a 16-year old Krumholtz’s depiction of the irritable yet obsequious elf won over the hearts of moviegoers. A stickler for getting Santa’s work done, Bernard acted as the hilarious liaison in charge of getting Allen’s Scott Calvin prepared to take on his role as the new Santa. Eight years after first donning the elf hat, Krumholtz returned again as everyone’s favorite crabby elf for The Santa Clause 2. Winning over fans’ hearts again, Bernard played a pivotal role in the follow-up film. After discovering a clause that states Scott Calvin must find a wife or Christmas will end, Bernard is left in charge at the North Pole as a robotic Santa takes Scott’s place while he’s out searching for love.
When the final installment of The Santa Clause trilogy brought in Hollywood veteran Martin Short to join Tim Allen as the villainous Jack Frost, fans couldn’t wait to get a look at how Bernard the Elf would respond, but unfortunately, the character was not only left out of the film but never even mentioned. To make things worse, the third film was dubbed a major flop for the franchise receiving a 17% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. While Krumholtz stated that he denied the part because of how the Elf was set up to be portrayed for the final installment, there is still no clear word on what the writers had planned for the beloved elf.
While obviously unhappy about how the studio wanted to portray Bernard, the 43-year old actor holds no ill will against the series and looks back on it fondly as he discusses its significance. “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,” he said. “I could never have imagined that I’d be having this conversation years later.” The chances of Disney ever making the fourth film in the franchise are highly unlikely, but we are sure that David Krumholtz wouldn’t hesitate to rejoin Tim Allen as America’s favorite elf once again, so long the studio honors the beloved character.