The Big Bang Theory may have had a great finale, but it was actually more dramatic than initially perceived, with each member of the cast having different reactions to the news of the ending. In 2018, just ahead of its season 12 premiere, it was announced that the hit sitcom would end its long run on CBS. There was no immediate explanation given as to why The Big Bang Theory was suddenly wrapping up, but reports started coming out that its ending stemmed from Jim Parsons decision to exit the show as Sheldon Cooper. The cast supposedly supported him, but despite their united front, things were more chaotic behind-the-scenes.
It wasn’t until after The Big Bang Theory finale that Parsons addressed the reports, explaining what prompted him to leave the sitcom. While the show was divisive, it remained TV’s number 1 comedy until the end, which meant it stars were paid handsomely. Parsons admitted that it wasn’t an easy choice for him, but ultimately he felt like it was time to move on. After Parsons’ comments, the rest of the cast never really talked about what led to The Big Bang Theory‘s cancelation until Jessica Radloff’s The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series book came out.
More than a year after the popular The Big Bang Theory’s end, Parsons opened up about the matter for the first time and laid out the reason for his decision. As it turns out, a lot of what was happening elsewhere in his life motivated him to let go of the project, including the death of his beloved dog and a Broadway accident that broke his foot. This made him realize that he wanted to do more with his career and appearing on The Big Bang Theory made that difficult, if not impossible.
Subsequently, Parsons detailed how delivering the news of his impending exit was awkward and uncomfortable after executive producer Chuck Lorre essentially let him tell his cast mates about his departure. He claimed that he didn’t expect that his choice to mean that The Big Bang Theory needed to end because he thought it could still go on without Sheldon. Jim Parsons stands by his choice to leave The Big Bang Theory when he did, even saying that he is sure other people felt the same way but simply hadn’t said anything themselves.
Speaking for the first time about the matter in The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, Johnny Galecki admits being blindsided by Parsons’ decision. In fact, Galecki criticizes how The Big Bang Theory‘s cancelation was handled. He didn’t like how the news was delivered to them without any disclaimer whatsoever to prepare them for what the conversation was going to be. He and co-star Kaley Cuoco even thought that it was just going to be about The Big Bang Theory season 13 renewal.
However, Galecki says that he was “not necessarily shocked by Jim’s decision.” In fact, Galecki maintains that he felt the same way, but he just didn’t like how the news was just dropped on his co-stars. The actor specifically hated seeing his on-screen partner and close friend Cuoco break down. Unlike Parsons, however, Galecki was sure that The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t continue with Sheldon or anyone else from the main cast.
Out of all The Big Bang Theory cast, Cuoco has been the busiest on the heels of the show’s finale. After playing Penny for 12 years, Cuoco starred in HBO Max’s critically-acclaimed The Flight Attendant which she also produced. In light of this, she previously revealed that The Big Bang Theory ending was somehow a blessing in disguise because it allowed her to try other things in her career. Not that she wasn’t able to do anything while on the sitcom, but given the project’s rigorous annual schedule, she had very limited options while still filming the show.
However, Cuoco didn’t have the same feelings about the matter when the news was communicated to them that the CBS series was ending. As she revealed in The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, she opened up about her initial shock because she never expected that the meeting that the cast was called for was essentially to let them know that Big Bang Theory was ending after 12 seasons. After playing Penny for more than a decade, she was scared about what lay ahead and confessed that she “cried for hours that day” and that “it just felt like a death.”
Like Galecki, Helberg only talked about the end of The Big Bang Theory in The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, and it isn’t surprising that he, too, shares his co-star’s sentiments. The Howard Wolowitz actor admitted that he was upset when they were simply informed that the show was done without any input from most of the cast. Despite Parsons’ hand in the matter, he doesn’t blame him; he pointed out that at the end of the day, the Sheldon actor didn’t decide on canceling the series. In fact, Helberg even reprised Howard for Young Sheldon season 5 cameo.
Kunal Nayyar, who played Raj Koothrappali, focused on his feelings upon learning that The Big Bang Theory was wrapping up. Similar to Cuoco, he had a visceral reaction to the news, but he wasn’t devastated about it. Instead, it felt like a “giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders.” At that moment, the actor said goodbye to the nerd-centric sitcom. He welcomed the opportunity to spend more time with his family and the opportunity to start again. For context, Nayyar had to move away from India to star in the show. Considering his sacrifices, somehow, it makes Raj’s lackluster TBBT ending worse.
Bernadette actress, Melissa Rauch recalls the day they were informed that The Big Bang Theory got canceled in The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series. She vividly remembered how vulnerable and emotional Parsons was, showing that it was difficult for him as much as it was for the rest of the cast. In hindsight, Rauch says that ending The Big Bang Theory when it did was the right decision. While she personally wouldn’t have thought of leaving the nerd-centric sitcom, she is somehow thankful that someone else made the call to wrap up the series.
Referencing Nayyar’s attitude, Mayim Bialik reveals that she wholly accepted The Big Bang Theory’s end. Instead of wallowing in grief, she focused on what’s next for her. After the sitcom finished, Bialik worked with Helberg in her directorial debut, As They Made Us, essentially reminding viewers how The Big Bang Theory forgot its best pairing in Amy and Howard. Aside from that, she also revisited her role again as Amy Farrah Fowler when she made voice cameos on Young Sheldon. In addition, she also starred in the Parsons-produced Call Me Kat, proving that she remains on good terms with him.
Next: Young Sheldon Reveals Mandy’s Secret Big Bang Theory Impact