“Young Sheldon” showrunner breaks down series finale ending and that Easter egg you definitely missed

Plus, find out what was cut from the final two episodes to appropriately honor that major character death.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for theYoung Sheldon series finale.

By the end of Young Sheldon, Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage) is exactly where he's supposed to be be.

The Big Bang Theory prequel series signed off Thursday night by finally bringing the young genius to Caltech, where he would eventually go on to meet his best friends and found family. But the cross-country move wasn't easy: First Sheldon had to deal with the loss of his father, George Sr. (Lance Barber), and struggled to cope with such an emotionally heavy moment. He fantasized about redoing the last moment he saw his father alive to make it more of a satisfying goodbye than what actually happened, and also daydreamed about giving the perfect eulogy while in reality, he didn't say anything at the funeral.

<p>cbs</p> Iain Armitage in the 'Young Sheldon' series finale


Iain Armitage in the 'Young Sheldon' series finale

"We still had to give him some room to grow to get to the end of Big Bang, 12 seasons later, where he gets to stand up at the Nobel Prize ceremony and give an emotional speech thanking his friends," showrunner Steve Holland tells Entertainment Weekly. "So we felt like he couldn't quite get that far yet. It just felt real to the character that there's things he wanted to say that he didn't, and also a way for us to tie in the way George Sr.'s talked about on Big Bang Theory, that it was easier for Sheldon to focus on his dad's faults and flaws as a way to deal with the pain and regret of those moments for him."

Getting to acknowledge that now, as an older Sheldon (narrator Jim Parsons making his Young Sheldon onscreen debut) writes his memoir as his wife, Amy (Mayim Bialik), watches, was a way for the prequel to emotionally honor the flagship series. "The older Sheldon can now look back and realize that that's what he had been doing," Holland explains. "But the truth is that he loved his dad and missed him."

Related: Jim Parsons says reprising Big Bang Theory role on Young Sheldon was 'very weird' but 'beautiful'

Getting Big Bang stars Parsons and Bialik to reprise their roles in the series finale was an easy ask. "Honestly, we asked and they said yes," Holland reveals with a laugh. "We always in the back of our mind thought about having Jim [appear on screen], and as we were talking about the finale, [creator] Chuck [Lorre] had pitched having Jim and Mayim back, and that just seemed really exciting. Jim's always been a part of the show, but mostly he lives in New York, so he does his voice-overs and we mostly see him on Zoom. It's been a while since we've been in the same room with him. It was a nice little reunion to get to be with them both again."

The idea that Sheldon's serieslong narration has actually been him writing his memoir this whole time felt "right," Holland adds. "The memoir felt like our conception of the show, which was that this was adult Sheldon telling stories about his childhood. That was a natural fit. And then it felt like a nice little dovetail to lay in that he had kids that he didn't understand, and while his parents didn't understand him, they were always there for him. There was a lesson that he could take from that, and as he's writing these stories about his childhood in a very Sheldon way, he's missed the most obvious lesson he could take from it, and it takes Amy to point that out to him."

<p>Bill Inoshita / 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.</p> Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons on 'Young Sheldon'

Bill Inoshita / 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons on 'Young Sheldon'

Having Parsons and Bialik back felt "a little bit" like they were making Big Bang all over again. "But it was in this different environment because there was no audience, and it was single-camera, so it also felt different, and maybe that was a good thing," Holland says. "Maybe that helped it not feel like we were trying to chase something or recapture something."

The very last moment of the finale, when Sheldon arrives on campus at Caltech, is something that the creative team always had in mind for how the show would end. "Sheldon going off into his new life was always our idea, to end it on a hopeful upbeat note," Holland says. "We know that his new life is full of family and friends, and good things happen to him, so that always felt like the right last moment."

But even the most eagle-eyed Big Bang fans will likely miss the Easter egg cameo in that scene. "It is for nobody, because no one would recognize it," Holland reveals with a laugh. "He has an exchange with a professor on campus, and that's David Saltzberg, who is our science consultant since Big Bang Theory all through Young Sheldon."

The producers considered casting a real scientist or a Big Bang actor for that part, but decided against using anyone recognizable. "We didn't want it to be distracting," Holland says. "And we realized [Saltzberg], other than Chuck and Jim, has been with this character the longest, because he worked on the first Big Bang Theory pilot, so it's really just a nice way for us to honor David and all the contributions he's made to both of these shows for the last 16 years."

Related: Young Sheldon showrunner explains why the series finale won't be THAT funeral

The penultimate episode, "Funeral," also went through some changes as the writers and producers wanted to appropriately honor George Sr.'s death, which meant cutting back on some of the comedy. "There were more attempts at humor and more jokes in the script that we actually shot that we ended up pulling out as we got into editing because it just felt a little tone deaf," Holland explains. "When we were watching it back, we realized we had earned the right for this family to have their moment of grief, and that was actually honoring George Sr. and honoring the real emotions of this family. We didn't have to go for the release valve of a joke all the time."

Finding the balance between comedy and drama for that episode was a challenge. "There's still light and there's still some laughs and moments of levity, but overall, finding that tone was a process that took us all the way into editing," Holland says. "We had to give ourselves permission to not go for the joke all the time and to actually take a moment. This family's grieving, and the audience who has fallen in love with this family and with George Sr. will also be grieving, so it's okay for people to grieve. It's okay to have those emotions, and we didn't feel the need to always have the little offramp of a joke."

<p>Sonja Flemming/CBS</p> Iain Armitage on 'Young Sheldon'

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Iain Armitage on 'Young Sheldon'

Some moments that were cut from the episode included a running joke where Georgie (Montana Jordan) and Mandy's (Emily Osment) baby can't stop crying throughout the funeral, and Sheldon's professors trying to distract him from grief by using science. "That was a hard cut, but it also felt better to keep Sheldon just sort of in his own head," Holland says. "All the cuts made it a stronger episode."

And while this is the end of Young Sheldon, it's not the end of the Big Bang extended universe, as CBS has ordered a Young Sheldon sequel series for the 2024-2025 TV season centered on Georgie and Mandy as they raise their family in Texas while navigating the challenges of adulthood, parenting, and marriage. But Holland says that the upcoming spinoff didn't factor into how they concluded this series at all.

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"It was important for us to end this show on its own terms," he says. "I mean, there was already things in place: Georgie and Mandy had gotten married, that was always a part of this season, and had the baby and moved in with her parents. But we didn't feel the need to make this finale about the new show. We wanted this finale to be about this show and family, and just honor that and not try to make it a backdoor pilot for a thing that was coming."

Young — and older — Sheldon would certainly agree.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.