The Big Bang Theory is gearing up to go out with one last bang!
CBS' top comedy will end its run after the upcoming 12th season, airing its final episode in May 2019, it was announced Wednesday.
“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past 12 seasons," Warner Bros. Television, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said in a joint statement. "We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close.”
Big Bang, which scored a huge two-season renewal in March 2017, will end its run as the longest-running multi-camera series in television history, with a record-breaking 279 episodes. Here's what we know so far about the show's upcoming 12th and final season:
The season will pick up following Sheldon and Amy's wedding.
Showrunner Steve Holland told ET's Leanne Aguilera back in May that writers weren't yet sure exactly how much time will have passed between seasons. "We could start at the reception, we could start at the honeymoon, we have lots of fun opportunities."
At the show's panel during San Diego Comic-Con in July, Holland confirmed that fans will see Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) on their honeymoon, joking, “It’s going to be the hardest we’re pushing the boundaries with CBS!”
The show was always looking at major character milestones for a possible end point.
"I mean, it's interesting – we've talked about it a lot every season before," Holland recalled of discussing the inevitable series finale. "In seasons past, we'd always talked about where we wanted to leave these characters and it's sort of evolved over the years. There were times when we would say, 'Leonard and Penny getting married – that could be the end of it.' or, 'Sheldon and Amy having sex for the first time – that could be it.' There were all of these moments that then became milestones as we just kept moving forward.
"So it's always an ongoing discussion and I don’t want to say specifics because I don’t know if we'll do them or not," he added, "but everyone has very sort of strong opinions about where they'd like these characters to end up."
They almost went for 13.
The announcement of Big Bang'sfinal season came as something of a surprise, considering CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl revealed earlier this month at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that CBS was hopeful for a 13th season. CBS still has Big Bang prequel spinoff, Young Sheldon, on its slate.
“We don’t believe it’s the final season," Kahl said at the time of the upcoming season possibly being Big Bang's last. "We are in preliminary discussions to renew the show with the studio that produces it, Warner Bros.”
In March, ET caught up with Big Bang stars at PaleyFest, where they dished on the future of the show.
"There's been no group discussion. There's been no 'come to Jesus' about this," Parsons said.
Added Johnny Galecki: "We think [season] 12 will be it. Anything beyond that, we're just thinking about the very tearful wrap party we'll have."
But Kaley Cuoco seemed open to the idea of continuing with the series: "I love being a part of the show and I think it'd be really stupid to say no. There's just nothing better. Season 13 does sound kind of cool."
Cuoco's post following the announcement of Big Bang'sfinal season echoed a similar sentiment.
"This ride has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets," the actress wrote on Instagram. "No matter when it was going to end, my heart would have always been broken in two. Drowning in tears, we promise to bring you the best season yet. To the fans, our crew, families, Chuck Lorre, Warner Brothers, CBS, and everyone who has supported us for so many years, thank you. We are goin out with a bang @bigbangtheory_cbs."
This ride has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets. No matter when it was going to end , my heart would have always been broken in two. Drowning in tears, we promise to bring you the best season yet. To the fans, our crew, families, Chuck Lorre, Warner Brothers , CBS, and everyone who has supported us for so many years, thank you. We are goin out with a bang 💫 @bigbangtheory_cbs
A post shared by Kaley Cuoco (@kaleycuoco) on Aug 22, 2018 at 1:27pm PDT
Kunal Nayyar's already got spinoff ideas.
At the show's Comic-Con panel in July, Nayyar was asked about whether or not his perpetually single character, Raj, might find love in the final season. According to the actor, Raj's love life is a perfect opportunity for more adventures in the Big Bang universe!
“It leaves room for a spinoff! Except it’ll be not like Young Sheldon, but more like Old and Fat Raj,” he joked. “I enjoy being the single guy -- seriously it’s really fun. You get to explore different aspects and [meet] many potential guest stars."
Nayyar then took suggestions from the audience about which celebrities might make good guest stars as Raj’s love interests.
“Gal Gadot? Yeah, that’s cool. Done. That would be nice. That’s brilliant,” he said. “Margot Robbie? Yeah. This is what I’m talking about with the spinoff, guys!”
The Big Bang Theory will kick off its final season on Monday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, before moving to its regular time period on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.