The Big Bang Theory's bittersweet goodbye will begin on Monday night, September 24, when the long-running sitcom kicks off its twelfth and final season. The announcement to end the series—which was made earlier this month—took fans by surprise, but there's some hope: Though the series as we know it will come to an end in May 2019, Executive Producer Steve Holland is open to a potential spin-off. If the stars align, of course.
In the meantime, the premiere episode will include the return of Kathy Bates and Teller as Amy's parents, among other cameos. And Sheldon and Amy's honeymoon, with trips to Legoland and New York City, is also in the mix. Lots more is in store for the final season, like Penny and Leonard's decision about whether or not they will have children and Raj's love life. So, we caught up with Holland to discuss all of the above and more. Read on.
There's a lot to discuss before the season 12 premiere, so let's start with Penny.
Steve Holland: Leonard and Penny are certainly going to face the discussion of kids. They’ve been married for a few years now, and her job is going well, [so a decision about whether or not to have kids] is certainly going to be a thing they're going to confront this year.
Kaley Cuoco has previously said she doesn’t want Penny and Leonard to have kids. Do you share that same view?
SH: It’s interesting because I don’t want to spoil the [upcoming] episode, but I agree with her. It seems like an interesting point of view for one of our characters to get the chance to take. It's exciting to explore different [scenarios] that you haven’t seen done before. [That's when] things really get exciting.
You mentioned Penny is doing well with her job, but in the past she's admitted it's not the most fulfilling career. Will she stay in pharmaceutical sales, or will she give one last try at acting?
SH: Everything is obviously on the table. We haven't written even half the season yet, but we’ve had her sort of fall back into acting in the past, so I don’t think that’s a thing we’re going to do again. We sort of talked about last season the chance of her moving in to a more PR position [at work], so I think she’ll start to be more fulfilled in her job.
Switching gears to Bernadette, she has two children under two. Are we going to see any of these children, especially in the last season?
SH: [Laughs] There’s no plans to see them, but who knows what the finale will hold? Right now, we won’t see them. But definitely those are interesting stories; we’re all parents and mothers and fathers here on staff to tell stories about balancing a job, family, and kids. We have a story coming up where they’ve built a playhouse in the backyard for their kids, and Bernadette starts hiding out in it because she needs a little bit of time to herself and feels guilty about it. We talk about all of that.
And what about Amy? Will things be different now that she and Sheldon have married?
SH: A little bit, but not in a big way. They’ve lived together before, but there are some differences. It's not just Sheldon navigating married life, but Amy as well. She's figuring out how to keep her identity as an individual and a scientist when she’s a part of this couple.
Is she keeping her last name?
SH: She is keeping her last name. We haven’t said it, but in the episode where they went to the chapel, she made the comment that she was going to keep her last name.
How do Amy's parents factor into the premiere?
SH: They come back when Amy and Sheldon are away on their honeymoon, so they become Penny and Leonard’s problem to deal with. And they’ll be back again this season. One of the fun things about Sheldon and Amy being married is that Sheldon has this extended family he hasn’t had before. Jerry O’Connell will be back too, in episode four. And obviously, especially now that it’s the last season, there’s a list of people important to the show that we want to make sure to have back on.
How much have you thought about how the season will end?
SH: We’ve talked about it a lot. I don’t know all the pieces, but there’s an ending that Steve Molaro and Chuck Lorre and I talked about that I think we’re all really excited by. So, not all the details, but a big picture. We have an idea of where we want to land this.
What are the chances of a spin-off?
SH: Honestly, I don’t know. It’s not something that we’re thinking of right now. We still have 20 more episodes to shoot and end the season, so I guess...I don’t know. My gut instinct on it is this show works because of this ensemble, these people together. You pull a piece out, and it’s not that. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a great idea out there for another show. I don't know.
I have one word for you: Frasier.
SH: [Laughs] I know, I know.
If there was something that came together, would you be open to it?
SH: I mean, sure. [Laughs] Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know if the cast wants to. I know they are sad the show is coming to an end, and they’ve loved doing it, but I don’t know how much they’d want to jump in and keep playing these characters or if they're excited for the chance to do something else. I haven’t had that conversation with them.
I think they would. The characters are so rich.
SH: It’s true, and writing the season...there’s always a little bit of panic like, We’ve done so many episodes, are there more stories to tell? Now the fear is, Do we have enough episodes to tell all the stories? [Laughs] There’s still a lot we’re excited about.
The Big Bang Theory season 12 premiere is Monday, September 24. Another new episode airs later that week, on Thursday, September 27.