The Big Bang Theory planned to pay tribute to the late Stephen Hawking during Thursday’s season finale. However, due to time constraints, the scene ended up on the cutting room floor — but now you can watch the heartfelt tribute above.
The season finale was originally supposed to end with a tag scene set after Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy’s (Mayim Bialik) wedding. As Amy and Sheldon celebrate having officiant Mark Hamill’s signature on their marriage license, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) bring in more wedding presents, one of which they realize was sent by the famous theoretical physicist before his death in March.
“We had wanted to do something to honor his passing and his involvement in the show,” executive producer Steve Holland tells EW. “When we were writing the wedding episode, it was actually [executive producer] Steve Molaro that had the idea that maybe Professor Hawking had sent them a gift before he passed.”
According to Holland, the Big Bang team then reached out to Hawking’s family to get their permission to do the tag scene. “We really wanted to get a chance to reference him and his passing and his importance to the show,” Holland says. “It was hard to because, when it happened, we had already shot three episodes, so there was no way to be super-timely about it, and this seemed like a great chance for us to do it in this big special episode.”
The Big Bang Theory will return this fall on CBS.