Charlie Sheen returning for the Two and a Half Men series finale sounded more likely during a press conference with critics at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour Thursday.

Warner Bros. assembled an extraordinary panel that included the casts and producers of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and Mom—along with their prolific mastermind co-creator, Chuck Lorre. One burning question in the room was whether Lorre would have the former Men star back for the one-hour finale after their public falling out and Sheen’s firing from the show four years ago.

At first, Lorre simply answered the Sheen question by saying, “I think we’re going to have a finale you’re going to be very pleased with and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

But later, Lorre reconsidered and interrupted his own answer to another question to circle back and add a bit more: “It would be inappropriate to not acknowledge the extraordinary success we had with Charlie and how grateful I am, we all are, to his contributions. And there’s nothing but great feelings for the eight-and-a-half years we worked together. But how to wrap the show up? It’s tricky. It’s a sticky wicket. Because in a way, the show morphed into something else entirely for the last four years—and it’s something we love—and we want to honor both. How to honor both is the challenge of this finale. And the other challenge is how to get people to watch it without telling them what it is.”

Sheen was famously fired from Men after making several lengthy rants against Lorre, Warner Bros. and CBS when the show didn’t resume production following his stint in rehab. Sheen filed a lawsuit shortly thereafter and settled for a reported seven-figure sum. Ashton Kutcher later replaced him.

After the panel, Lorre was asked if time has healed some of the “wounds” from those events. “There are no wounds,” he said, though noted he hasn’t personally spoken to Sheen since the falling out. “What happened, happened. And I’m grateful for the time we enjoyed working together and I’m very grateful Ashton came along and kept the lights on. What do I got to complain about? I’m so blessed.”

CBS has said the Feb. 19 finale will be a “mystery sandwich” and to expect plenty of guest stars, while Lorre revealed the show’s final scene will be shot on a closed set with a small crew. Asked if another series cast-away, Angus T. Jones, will return, Lorre just smiled and said he wouldn’t comment on that.

“I’m very proud of what we did here with Charlie, I’m very proud of those shows,” Lorre said. “I watch some of those shows and I’m so proud — because you forget, it was a long time ago … [and] to end the show appropriately you literally have to end two incarnations of Two and a Half Men and bring together a lot of threads. I didn’t want to end it without acknowledging the past. I think we did that in a way that will be funny. [What’s important is that the show] always goes back to that — that people will laugh and [say], ‘Shit, did they really do that?'”

Episode Recaps

Two and a Half Men | Monday, 8-8:30 p.m., CBS The warlock has left the building. With the spectacular, bridge-burning, jumping-down-?the-inflatable-?emergency-slide exit of Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men…

Two and a Half Men

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