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Home Improvement Theory: Wilson Is In Witness Protection

Wilson is one of Home Improvement’s most popular characters, but a fan theory suggests the friendly neighbor is actually in witness protection.

A popular Home Improvement theory claims the Taylor family’s neighbor Wilson is actually in the witness protection program. Tim Allen had few acting credits to his name before Home Improvement, with the lead role being tailored around him; which makes sense, as the series was based on his standup routine. The show followed Allen’s Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, the host of a popular home improvement series called Tool Time. Despite his cockiness, he’s shown time and again to not be very handy with tools.

This unearned confidence also applies to his family life – which includes wife Jill and their three sons – with a typical Home Improvement episode seeing Tim having to untangle a mess of his own making. Thankfully, he can always wander out to his backyard and speak with next-door neighbor Wilson (Earl Hindman). Famously, Wilson’s face is never seen, which was based on Allen’s childhood memories of a neighbor whose face he could never see fully over his backyard fence. The well-traveled Wilson often comes through for Tim or another member of the Taylor clan, offering sage advice that helps resolve a given crisis.


Related: Why Pixar Has Recast Tim Allen For The Buzz Lightyear Movie

Wilson was arguably Home Improvement’s most popular character, and the late Hindman’s performance brought both warmth and humor. While the reason Home Improvement obscured Wilson’s face was down to Allen’s memories of his own neighbor, a fan theory has cropped up that posits Wilson was actually in the witness protection program. As outlined on Looper, the evidence for this comes from examining the things known about Wilson’s past. He came from Chicago, his wife died mysteriously and he’s cagey about showing his face around Tim, a local celebrity who may get his picture snapped by paparazzi at any moment.

home improvement wilson face fence

Home Improvement – which featured an early role for Pamela Anderson – also revealed his full name as Wilson W. Wilson, which sounds completely made up. The fan theory suggests Wilson’s wife was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Chicago before the start of Home Improvement, and that after he testified against her killers, he was placed in the witness protection program and moved to Detroit. This may explain why he often obscures his face with masks or scarfs even when stepping outside his home.

Of course, it’s doubtful the showrunners on Home Improvement ever considered this concept, but the theory itself is kind of fun to explore. Home Improvement finally did show Earl’s face in the final episode “Backstage Pass,” though this was Hindman taking a bow with the rest of the cast during the recording of the final episode. Hindman himself sadly passed away a few years following the end of Home Improvement.

Next: How Much Tim Allen Turned Down For Home Improvement Season 9

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