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The Reason Young Sheldon Ended With Season 7

When "The Big Bang Theory" aired its touching finale in May 2019, that closed the book on a sitcom that had stayed on the air for a good 12 seasons. So how come its prequel, "Young Sheldon," didn't last as long on television screens despite its similar status as a fan-favorite series?

Speaking to The New York Times, "Young Sheldon" co-creator Steven Molaro and executive producer Steve Holland opened up on the matter, explaining that "Young Sheldon" ended after seven seasons for one simple reason — it was always meant to end at a definite time. This makes sense, as even in the show's first season, fans already knew a fair bit of Sheldon Cooper's (Iain Armitage) backstory, thanks to the events of "The Big Bang Theory." They knew that the boy genius would deal with the death of his father, George Sr. (Lance Barber), and enter graduate school at Caltech at the age of 14. As such, there was no way "Young Sheldon" could enjoy a decade-plus run similar to the series that spawned it.

All this meant that when the Writer's Guild of America strike ended in late 2023, the team behind "Young Sheldon" had to make the tough decision to call it a day after seven seasons. "The premise of the show is that an exceptional young kid is thrust into a world where everyone is older than him," Holland explained. "But as soon as Iain aged and Sheldon aged, he didn't look that out of place anymore, even in college."

The show is called Young Sheldon for a reason

In the above interview, it was noted that "Young Sheldon" tried to extend its natural lifespan with a two-season stretch where Sheldon and his twin sister, Missy (Raegan Revord), remain at the same age. This was obviously a temporary solution, and as the show's co-creator Chuck Lorre explained to USA Today, it wouldn't have been sensible either to continue Sheldon's story after he enters graduate school, as that would defeat the purpose of the prequel.

"In the 'Big Bang' universe, Sheldon goes to Caltech at 14. Even if we ignored that, the show is called 'Young Sheldon,' and that's not true anymore," Lorre said. "We got to watch this guy grow up, and it was wonderful. It's heartbreaking to end, even though it was the right story decision. It just felt like the right time. But it didn't make it any less emotional."

Although it seems that Sheldon Cooper's origin story has reached its denouement, fans of Lorre's "Big Bang Theory" universe still have something to look forward to, as the "Young Sheldon" spin-off "Georgie & Mandy's First Marriage" is set to debut in the second half of 2024, with Montana Jordan and Emily Osment returning as the titular characters. Unfortunately, Revord likely won't be reprising her role as Missy on the upcoming series, but Molaro and Holland expressed hope in seeing other "Young Sheldon" mainstays pop up in guest roles — provided the spin-off doesn't transform into "Older Young Sheldon" due to all the cameos, as Holland quipped to The New York Times.