It was a very long and painful hiatus for Last Man Standing fans, following the show’s abrupt and untimely cancellation on ABC last spring. After an intense backlash, a , and one fruitless effort to bring the show back on CMT, it began to look as though we’d really seen the last of the Baxters. But then, almost exactly a year after its cancellation, news came that the show would be revived on Fox. While most of your favorites have returned for the revival, which is already off to a wildly popular start, the lineup won’t look exactly as you remember. Here’s what you need to know about the season seven cast.
Having first risen to fame during his eight-year stint on Home Improvement, Allen returned to TV in 2011 to play another lovable family man in Mike Baxter. As the title suggests, Mike is a husband and father to three daughters, and the show focuses on his attempts to maintain his structure in a world where he’s surrounded by women. He often recounts his tales to coworkers at a local sporting goods store.
Prior to being cast as Mike’s wife Vanessa, Nancy Travis appeared in movies including The Jane Austen Book Club, scored guest roles in several shows like Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and How I Met Your Mother, and co-starred in The Bill Engvall Show. At the Television Critics Association Press Tour this summer, Travis said her character and her on-screen husband, “have a mutual respect, but don’t necessarily always agree, and agree to disagree, and they’re two people that are making their way in middle America.”
The Baxters’ eldest daughter begins the series as a single mom, having given birth to her son Boyd right after high school. She reconciled with Boyd’s father, Ryan, over the course of the series, and the two are now married. Fuller was not initially cast in the role, but replaced actress Alexandra Krosney who played Kristin during season one. Prior to this, Fuller had a recurring role in Grey’s Anatomy as Dr Morgan Peterson, and had also appeared in Scandal and Law & Order: SVU.
The Baxters’ middle daughter Mandy will be back, but actress Molly Ephraim was unavailable to return for the new season and will be replaced by Molly McCook. McCook started out on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2010, and has since appeared in shows like Modern Family and the Ashton Kutcher-starring Netflix comedy The Ranch. Though fans have had some trouble adjusting to the change, her on-screen mom Nancy Travis has every confidence that they will love her in no time.
The Baxters’ youngest daughter has sometimes been called Mike’s favorite, because her political opinions and interests are closest to his own. She’ll be absent for much of season seven, after joining the Air Force Academy. “We’ll visit her sometimes, and she’ll come visit us sometimes,” executive producer Matt Berry has said. Dever has had a successful movie career in addition to her role on the show, appearing in acclaimed films including The Spectacular Now, Short Term 12, and the upcoming Oscar contender Beautiful Boy. She also played Loretta McCready on FX drama Justified for five seasons.
Kyle started out as Mike’s employee at the sporting goods store, and initially dated Kristin before starting a relationship with Molly. As of season seven, Kyle and Molly are married and struggling to conceive. Sanders is best known outside of Last Man Standing for playing Ned Banks in the Jennifer Love Hewitt-starring CBS show Ghost Whisperer.
Kristin and Ryan’s son was played by Flynn Morrison in seasons two through six, but the character has been aged up for the seventh season and will be played by 14-year-old Jurgensmeyer. “We're bringing him back at the age of 12 so that we can get some fun storylines about a young man on the cusp of becoming a man,” executive producer Kevin Abbott has explained. “That just gives us more stories to tell." Despite Jurgensmeyer’s young age, he already has a pretty impressive acting resume, and has appeared in shows including Will & Grace, Grey’s Anatomy, and the Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper.
Hector is Mike’s longtime business partner; twenty years prior to the show, he hired Mike at a fishing supply store, which Mike has now helped to turn into a successful chain of sporting goods stores. Elizondo is a veteran actor who’s appeared in movies including Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, and appeared on several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy as Carlos Torres.
Following his reconciliation with Kristin, the liberal-minded, vegan Ryan has repeatedly clashed with Mike, whose views couldn’t be more different than his son-in-law’s. Masterson has appeared in movies like The 40-Year Old Virgin, and several shows including Greek and How I Met Your Mother.
Mike and Vanessa’s neighbor Chuck is a retired veteran who trades barbs with Mike, though deep down the pair are good friends. “These are two sort of man’s men, so to have them be able to engage with each other, it’s really one of my favorite things to watch during the show,” producer Matt Berry has said. Before being cast in Last Man Standing, Adams had appeared in the Fox drama Bones, and played a recurring role in the ABC dramedy Castle.
It was announced earlier this summer that season seven would introduce a foreign exchange student from China, and actress Yu was later cast in the role.
“Vanessa, when she was in her teens, went on a foreign exchange, and she’s been a big supporter of that all her life,” producer Kevin Abbott has explained. “Now that all the kids are getting older, she wants to bring in a child and support that program." Jen’s upbringing in a “different political system” will pave the way for “wonderful discussions and conflicts” with the conservative Mike. Yu is best known for her two-season role in ABC comedy Dr Ken.