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Every since fictional characters came into existence, humans have eventually become interested in stories about younger versions of those characters, from Muppet Babies to the Star Wars prequels and tons of examples before and after. That approach is being given to sitcom juggernaut The Big Bang Theory, as it was recently announced a prequel spinoff is in the works, to be centered on a younger version of main character Sheldon Cooper. We now know a bit more about what to expect from this new iteration of the compulsive brainiac, as it appears the casting process has begun.
To be expected, a prequelized version of Sheldon Cooper won't be on the opposite end of the spectrum from his adult self, as his signature quirks didn't just spout up overnight in his early 20s. According to TVLine, the search is on for a new Sheldon, and creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre, showrunner Steve Molaro and star Jim Parsons himself are looking for the perfect actor who is in the 8-11 age range and is capable of portraying a "socially awkward, one-in-a-generation genius." The casting notice also calls young Sheldon "confident," which is nice, but it also contains a batch of other adjectives that no one wants kids to be, such as "short-tempered" and "fiercely ritualistic" and "arrogant."
I have to imagine that the amount of palpable precociousness and forced attitude in those audition rooms will be such that they stick to everyone's clothes when they leave. That would be a way too much to take in for just one afternoon, much less however long it takes to actually find the right kid for the gig.
While Sheldon's mom does get recognized in the casting notice - the narrative centers on their family living in East Texas - there's nothing specific we can expect to see from this younger Mary Cooper, who is played by the fabulous Laurie Metcalf on the flagship series. Getting the proper actress for that role is almost as important as the Sheldon part, since she's an actual adult, and adults tend to like watching other adults more than children in the primetime hours.
This spinoff isn't locked down into existence just yet, as these are the early days, but nobody is trying to fool anyone else here. The Big Bang Theory is consistently one of the most watched shows on television, and even if a spinoff about Sheldon 2.0 turns out to be the dumbest and lowest-rated sitcom in history, it would be absolutely worth it on the off-chance that a similar extended success can be grasped. Unless there's somehow no one capable of playing kid Cooper, expect an ensemble to come together and deals to be made in time for a Fall 2017 premiere. I suppose this could be something to run in the summer when Big Bang Theory is on hiatus, too. Or maybe just all year round.
The Big Bang Theory proper will return to CBS on Thursday, February 2, at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is coming to the small screen in the near future, head over to our midseason premiere schedule.