Ahead of The Big Bang Theory’s season 11 finale, the question remains whether the CBS comedy juggernaut is heading into its final season.
Last year, the comedy scored a two-season renewal, ensuring it would be on the air through season 12, which is slated to bow this fall. But the show’s future beyond that has remained murky, especially since the cast’s contracts will once again be up. CBS could end up announcing season 12 will be the show’s last sometime over the next two weeks, ahead of upfronts, or the network could leave fans (and the show’s writers) to wonder.
“We’ve talked about if next season is the end where we would like to leave these characters, so we have some general plans,” executive producer Steve Holland tells EW. “But we really haven’t sat down and done the nitty-gritty of talking about the specifics of what exactly needs to happen.”
Should next season be the show’s last, the writers do have a general sense of the checklist of moments they’d want to hit before the end — though not all questions will be answered. “There’s certainly moments that we’ve had in this bucket of stories that we want to do, and we’ve checked some of them off as we’ve gone along,” Holland notes. “Some of them, we have next season to get out there, and I think some of them we don’t have plans to ever answer. Some of them, we like the mystery of it.”
“I won’t tell you which ones are which,” Holland continues. “But I think there are a few things that people ask about a lot that I think are going to make great stories next season. There’s a few things that I think, for us, are just part of the mystery of the show that we’ll probably never touch.”
In the meantime, the season finale will feature the long-awaited wedding of Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik), which Holland says was challenging in trying to top the other nuptials they’ve shown over the last 11 seasons. “You have to find ways to do it differently, and I think this one was go big,” Holland says. “This was our chance to top them just in terms of scope. I don’t think we’ve ever had this many characters from this world on screen at the same time.”
Among the big-name guest stars set to show up: Laurie Metcalf will be back as Sheldon’s mom, joined by Jerry O’Connell and Courtney Henggeler as his siblings, and Kathy Bates and Teller will appear as Amy’s parents. “The wedding is a chance for us to bring lots of family together, some of them for the first time,” Holland says. “All the family and friends get to be in the same place at the same time for the big event.”
Also among the surprise appearances in the finale is Mark Hamill in a top-secret role. “He was incredible,” Holland says. “He was the first person we reached out to when we were writing this role. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan, so even to get the chance to talk to him on the phone, even if he had said no, was a thrill. And then to have him on set was great. He was lovely and genuinely funny in the episode. It couldn’t have been a better experience.”
Despite so many people in town, viewers may be surprised by how Amy and Sheldon handle their impending nuptials. “I think you would expect Amy and Sheldon to be sort of nervous about the wedding, and I think what’s fun about this finale is how excited and calm they are about the wedding,” Holland teases. “It’s everything around the wedding that is making them a little crazy.”
The Big Bang Theory finale airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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