On Monday, Sept. 25, the prequel series that will investigate the origins of TV's favorite theoretical physicist and central character of one of the most widely watched comedy shows of all time will premiere. But will Jim Parsons appear on Young Sheldon? The Big Bang Theory actor is definitely lending the spin-off series his vocal chords as the show's narrator, but it's not clear yet whether he'll show up on person.
Based on The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon focuses on a Sheldon who's just nine years old. He begins high school after skipping several grades to join his older brother. Being significantly younger than anyone else in his new grade, combined with his trademark social awkwardness, of course, aims to cause some problems for little Sheldon. It isn’t just the high school environment that is problematic. While The Big Bang Theory takes place in California, Sheldon grew up in a conservative town in East Texas.
Rumors first started swirling about a spinoff prequel for Big Bang Theory back in November of last year, when Deadline claimed that an anonymous source had said CBS had ordered a pilot for the series. Called Sheldon, the original concept was reportedly about a 12-year-old Sheldon Cooper, and came from a collaborative idea hatched by Parsons, Big Bang Theory co-creator Chuck Lorre, and executive producer Steve Malaro.
Despite Parsons being busy playing the iconic role in the current series, he has been involved with Young Sheldon since it's beginnings. In fact, he said it all stems from from an idea he had that relates to his real life family. While on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, according to US Weekly, Parsons claimed that Young Sheldon stemmed from an idea he'd had to dig into the origin behind his beloved character.
“I was trying to come up with an idea for a show, and we had this idea about my little nephew, who is really smart, down in Texas. My family is pretty average — no offense to them, but they're very normal, and he's very smart. One thing led to another and I thought, 'This could be Sheldon.’”
Parsons wasn't just a part of the original concept though. According to The Wrap, he is also an executive producer and will serve as the narrator for Young Sheldon. While he may not be as appreciated for his voiceover work as say, Morgan Freeman, it is exciting to be able to hear older Sheldon wax poetic about his younger self. His voice can already be heard in the show's promos.
Speaking of that younger self, little Sheldon will be played by Iain Armitage. He and Parsons have likely spent a lot of time together in the making of the show, and recently co-presented at the Emmys. But, when it comes to seeing Parsons on Young Sheldon, or Armitage making an appearance on Big Bang Theory, there just aren’t any definitive answers... yet.
However, Lorre, an executive producer of both Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon, has hinted there may come a day where crossover episodes could occur. Perhaps, an event that was formative for Sheldon in his childhood being brought up in his adulthood? In an interview with Chris Harnick for E! News, Lorre said, “We discussed the possibility that the stories we tell on Young Sheldon could echo on Big Bang Theory ... We're definitely discussing the ripple effect that the shows could have going forward in time.”
Fans are probably hoping for a crossover, but it seems that for the moment, that may not be in the cards. Steve Holland, the longtime Big Bang Theory writer, will step into the showrunner role for Young Sheldon. And he wants each show to focus on its own goals for the time being. In an interview with TV Guide, Holland said, "We don't have any plans for a big crossover right now...we'll worry about the crossovers down the line."
So, no matter whether or not Young Sheldon incorporates Parsons into a flash-forward, it will be undoubtedly interesting to see how a character as unique as Sheldon Cooper came to be.