Tim Allen's Scott Calvin went on quite a journey in the first season of The Santa Clauses. Although he began the Disney+ series by deciding to finally hang up the red coat, his chosen successor Simon Choksi (Kal Penn) didn't exactly pan out, and by the end of the season, the true Santa had to return to the North Pole — with a little help from his family.
So now Scott and the rest of the Calvin clan are back in the Christmas business, and season 2 will therefore involve even more holiday goodness. In fact, thanks to a new amusement park called Santopolis, new episodes of The Santa Clauses will feature more Santas on screen than ever before — literally. You can see a taste of that in the exclusive preview photos below.
Disney/James Clark Tim Allen in 'The Santa Clauses' season 2
"I thought this season was going to be easy, because we've already built all the sets. But then I'm reading the scripts, and I find out about Santopolis," production designer Melanie Jones tells EW. "It's huge, and it comes with a Santa Claus Museum. Since the character would've been young in the '90s, we did plaid wallpaper, a little bit of grunge, and a little bit of pine. And then we had this concept that you have decades and decades of Santas from museums, statues, and tchotchkes."
Asked to estimate just how many Santa figures were needed on set to create Santopolis, set decorator Maile Cassara guesses, "I've got to say there were five thousand?"
Jones adds, "We all love Santa on the show, but you walked in and it was overwhelming! She was out there with her shoppers, finding all these crazy Santa variations from many decades and just bringing it to life that way."
Disney/James Clark The amusement park/museum of Santopolis, as seen in 'The Santa Clauses' season 2
As set decorator, Cassara's props help convey the mythology of the show's vision of the North Pole.
"A big part of my job is to visually create the character," Cassara says. "When the actors are on set, they are bringing the character to life, but I'm actually telling a lot of the backstory of who they are."
Santa isn't the only resident of the North Pole, of course. He would be nothing without his elves, and The Santa Clauses team thought a lot about the elves' personalities and preferences when building out the architecture of Christmas headquarters for season 2.
"Maile and I talked a lot about how the elves built these structures in the North Pole, and elves being elves, they like treats and snacks and candy," Jones says. "So I wanted every surface and everything based off of really good food, like fudge and peppermint and vanilla cake and marble-swirled ice cream, and any kind of treat that you could imagine. We imbued that element into the architecture."
Jones continues, "In the original movies, they were very focused on Art Nouveau, which I love in terms of the architectural style, but I didn't want to be married to just that. I felt like, and you find this out in season 2, that when the elves started up at the North Pole, they were living underground a lot. They were living in ice caves and then eventually made their way to the surface and started building. So we went into Art Deco, we went into more classical architecture, even Victorian. We're incorporating bits and pieces from all different decades of architecture and then giving it the overall feeling that everything just needs to look delicious."
Disney/James Clark A set from 'The Santa Clauses' season 2
Though the elf characters are thousands of years old, they are played by child actors, and the show really leaned into this juxtaposition in season 2.
"We decided on a slight adultification of elves," Cassara says. "So for Betty's office, we put in a Cocoa-ccino machine. Instead of an espresso machine, it makes cocoa. In E.L.F.S. headquarters, we did a standard office water jug, but it's filled with milk. So it was just taking these standard adult things that you'd see in a workplace and making it Christmas-y, both childish and adult at the same time. We had to make sure that every single set had a bowl of candy — which we had to replenish a lot."
Disney/James Clark Elizabeth Mitchell and Tim Allen in 'The Santa Clauses' season 2
The Santa Clauses season 2 premieres Wednesday, Nov. 8, on Disney+.