In Big Bang Theory‘s seventh season, Jim Parson’s Sheldon off-handedly remarks to Bernadette’s dad that his own father, George Cooper Sr., died when he was just 14 years old. That particular piece of TBBT canon is now under the microscope as CBS readies the launch of Young Sheldon, a prequel spinoff centered on a 9-year-old Sheldon’s upbringing in Texas.
So… is the offshoot building to a Season 5 tragedy in which a teenage Sheldon (Iain Armitage) is left fatherless? Yes and no, according to exec producer Chuck Lorre, who told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, “We’re not going to play fast and loose [with history]. But [Young Sheldon takes place] five years before [George’s death]. And people change and grow and develop, and things happen over the course of many years. And we don’t have to follow an exact timeline. A season doesn’t have to be a year. It could be a couple months. We have a lot of freedom with the backstory.”
Additionally, Adult Sheldon has rarely had a kind word to say about his late father, leaving Big Bang viewers with the impression that he was a heinous human being. “We’re going to show that there’s a great deal more to the man than we discussed [on Big Bang Theory],” maintains Lorre.
Young Sheldon bows Sept. 25 at 8:30/7:30c, immediately following the Season 11 premiere of The Big Bang Theory.