Sheldon and Amy Return in Young Sheldon Finale: What We Learn About Their Life After The Big Bang Theory

It started and ended with a Big Bang.

Thursday’s Young Sheldon series finale marked the returns of Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik as Drs. Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler. A future-set storyline confirmed that Sheldon has been writing his memoir all of this time — hence Parsons’ role as narrator and Bialik’s periodic interjections throughout the prequel’s 141-episode run.

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Sheldon was determined to stay home and keep writing — more on all those office Easter eggs in a moment! — but Amy insisted that he get up and attend their son Leonard’s hockey game. (Leonard plays for the Pasadena Penguins, which tells us that Sheldon and Amy haven’t moved very far from 2311 North Los Robles Ave. in the years since they won their Nobel Prize.)

The marrieds also have a daughter. Her name is not revealed, but we know that she shares something in common with Amy’s bestie. “Your daughter wants to take acting classes,” she tells her husband, to which he replies, “I told you we never should have let Penny babysit.”

'Young Sheldon' Finale Cast: Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik as Sheldon and Amy From 'The Big Bang Theory'
Bill Inoshita/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Big Bang Theory viewers likely clocked about a dozen Easter eggs in Sheldon’s office — including, but not limited to: Sheldon’s Nobel Prize, a framed photo of #Shamy in Stockholm, the DNA model, a Flash mug, a Rubik’s Cube coaster… and the couch from Apt. 4A!

“We should have kept count of how many Easter eggs are actually there and see who could catch them all because there’s a bunch,” executive producer Steve Holland tells TVLine. “There’s the robots boxing painting that hung in the living room… Sheldon’s Gollum statue is on his desk… there’s a little MythBusters bobblehead of Adam Savage that was on his bookshelf on Big Bang Theory….

“There are [some] I’m not even sure if they’re on camera,” the EP continues. “In one episode, Sheldon says that he has a collection of Justice League back-scratchers, and those are up on the wall in one corner of the office…. There’s a framed magazine cover with Jim’s face on it that was in his office at Caltech, his diplomas for his doctorates are framed on the wall…. There are some Young Sheldon Easter eggs, too: There’s his train set lining the top of the wall, above the door frame, there’s a photograph of the Cooper family in the background, and there’s a photo of Sheldon and his dad [on his desk] that gets focused on.”

'Young Sheldon' Finale Cast: Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik as Sheldon and Amy From 'The Big Bang Theory'
Bill Inoshita/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The biggest Easter egg of all is saved for the series’ very last scene. Upon arriving at the California Institute of Technology, Sheldon is approached by a professor who asks if he’s lost. He’s played by none other than UCLA professor David Saltzberg, an experimental particle physicist who has served as a scientific consultant on both Big Bang and Young Sheldon for a combined 18 years, after he was first hired as a consultant on Big Bang’s unaired 2006 pilot.

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In the video, series star Iain Armitage (aka Young Sheldon) talks with TVLine about Parsons and Bialik’s returns and sharing his final scene with Professor Saltzberg. Below, Holland dives even deeper into Sheldon and Amy’s returns and offers an update on the rest of the Big Bang Theory gang.

TVLINE | What was it like having Jim and Mayim back and getting to write for these characters again?
I mean, it was so great to have them back just as people. We spent so many years with Jim and Mayim, and we still see them from time to time and keep in touch. Jim, obviously, works on the show, but we mostly see him on Zoom from New York. On a personal level, just to get to hang out with them in person again was great, and then to watch them step back into these characters was really emotional. I think Jim and Mayim both have said that they were very nervous and that they weren’t sure they could just step right back into [these roles], but it didn’t feel like that from watching them. It was also a difference of going from a multi-cam show [shot in front of a live studio audience] to a single-cam show, and watching them make those adjustments to play it differently. You play everything a little bit smaller, and they just did it so effortlessly. From the outside, just watching them slip back into these characters, felt really great.

TVLINE | I think many fans, myself included, were expecting a fleeting glimpse of Sheldon and Amy — perhaps they’d be saved for the tag scene. I was not expecting to see Jim and Mayim in what felt like a third of the episode!
Like you said, people know that they’re going to be in the finale, but is there still a way to surprise people? Maybe most people think that this is going to be a coda at the end, so hopefully cutting to them right off the bat will come as a bit of a surprise. We were also trying to be really careful not to let them overwhelm the finale because, at the end of the day, this was still a Young Sheldon finale and this still had to be about the Cooper family. I feel pretty good about how we struck that balance. It was more than just a cameo, but that the whole episode didn’t revolve around them was important to us.

TVLINE | You revealed in Young Sheldon’s Season 4 premiere that Sheldon and Amy’s son is named Leonard, after Johnny Galecki’s Leonard Hofstadter. Why didn’t you reveal their daughter’s name in the series finale?
You know, we talked about it, but there’s a point of where it starts to feel like a barrage of Easter eggs. We had said the name Leonard before, and it felt like if you were going to say the daughter’s name, it would be weird if it was just Sally, you know? It had to be something, and then it felt like, “Are we learning into Easter egg territory?” We like the fact that like there are a bunch of these Easter eggs on the set that aren’t focused on [in the episode] and hopefully people won’t be so distracted by them that they they don’t pay attention to the scene; you can go back and rewatch it, freeze frame later and see what you can catch.

TVLINE | Sheldon has the couch from Apt. 4A in his office. That feels like a pretty big, potentially distracting Easter egg!
The couch we rarely focus on. We thought if it’s too featured, people are gonna be, like, “It’s the couch!” and no one is going to pay attention to what’s going on. We were trying to be very careful about where we put things and keep them in the background.

TVLINE | We establish that Sheldon and Amy have moved out of Apt. 4B and have a house, but they’re still living in Pasadena. But having the couch from Apt. 4A, which stayed with Leonard and Penny once Sheldon moved across the hall with Amy, would seem to indicate that maybe, just maybe, Leonard and Penny have also moved now that they have a kid of their own. In your mind, are the characters from Big Bang — Leonard, Penny, Sheldon, Amy, Howard, Bernadette and Raj — all still close by and in each other’s orbit?
I think so. I think they’re still close, and still friends. It was important for us at some point to put in an establishing shot of the house they were in because we wanted to make sure people didn’t think they were still in the apartment. It doesn’t look exactly the same, but it doesn’t look so different that you could not look at it [closely enough] and think that it was just the Big Bang Theory set. It was important for us to let people know that they have a house. They’ve grown up, they’ve moved out of the apartment, and in our minds, a lot of that stuff in Sheldon’s office is stuff that Amy was, like, “Well, you can put that in your office. That’s not going in the rest of the house, but that can go in your office.”

TVLINE | We end with Sheldon’s arrival at Caltech. It’s the first time you have shot on location, outside on campus. How did it feel to be able to shoot there after this combined, 19-season run?
It felt amazing. I think the only other time on Big Bang that we went there was once when Stephen Hawking was on the show; we went and shot him in his office at Caltech, but you wouldn’t have known that because it was just inside. This is our first time going on the, on the outside of and we and the Sheldon had gone to visit [in Season 3], and we had seen the cafeteria [set from Big Bang], but to actually go to the campus was great. We talked a lot about who the professor should be that stopped Sheldon and has that last exchange with him, and we realized that other than [series co-creator] Chuck [Lorre] and Jim, [Professor Saltzberg] has been with the character the longest because he worked on the first Big Bang pilot. It felt like a really nice way to recognize David and all that he contributed to both of these shows that he has the last moment there.

TVLINE | Young Sheldon’s series finale airs Thursday, May 16, 2024, exactly five years to the day that Big Bang ended on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Does it feel like kismet that these two shows get to share a date in TV history?
I don’t think I actually realized that it was the same exact date — that it happens to be a Thursday and falls on the same date again. Yeah, that feels… that feels right!

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