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the big bang theory sheldon cooper jim parsons

After more than a decade on the air, The Big Bang Theory will air its final episode at the end of the upcoming twelfth season. Fans have had mixed reactions to the news, ranging from relief that the stories will have the chance to come full circle to sadness that only 24 episodes are left. Some of the stars have weighed in, and now Sheldon himself has shared his thoughts on the conclusion of the show. Here's what Jim Parsons had to say after filming the first episode of Season 12 and reflecting on the announcement of the show ending:

I feel very fortunate that we have another 23 episodes to shoot this season because I am hopeful that with each and every one, my level of REALLY accepting this fact will sink in. Something else I feel grateful for - and this gratitude needs no time to 'sink in' or become more 'realized;' this grateful-feeling is always with me but is multiplied in this moment of us announcing our final season - but I feel such intense gratitude for our devoted viewers who are the ACTUAL reason we have been graced with the opportunity to explore these characters for 12 years of our lives.

Given that The Big Bang Theory turned Jim Parsons from a relatively unknown actor into a household name with the appeal to score huge salary deals in the last several years, and a spinoff featuring Parsons via voiceover and revolving around a younger version of his character was one of the biggest freshman series hits of the 2017-2018 TV season, it's not a shock that he's grateful for his experience. After 12 years of heavy involvement in a hugely successful show, it's no surprise that the end is something that hasn't quite sunk in yet. That said, considering news about why the show is coming to an end, some fans might be surprised by the thoughts he shared on his Instagram post.

The Big Bang Theory is reportedly ending because Jim Parsons decided he was ready to conclude his time as Sheldon at the end of the twelfth season, despite signs that CBS was looking to extend the series for another couple of years. Although Kaley Cuoco shared a touching message on social media in the wake of the cancellation news, Mayim Bialik -- who plays Sheldon's wife on the show -- has been open about her displeasure that the show has an official expiration date. When reports of Parsons' desire to leave broke, neither Parsons nor CBS commented. It may be a while before we get any details about what exactly went down. Still, Parsons' gratitude is nice to see, and he went on to thank the cast, the writers, and everybody behind the scenes for their work bringing The Big Bang Theory to life on the small screen.

At least the early decision to end the show means that the creative team has the time to tie up plenty of loose ends! Since the Young Sheldon Season 1 finale reveal that Sheldon will one day have kids, all eyes are likely to be on Amy to see if she winds up with any buns in the oven before the end of The Big Bang Theory. I wouldn't put it past the show to actually end the series finale on the reveal that they're going to be parents. The other characters deserve closure and then the promise of more to come before the final credits roll . We can only hope that the final season does justice to the 11 that came before.

The Big Bang Theory returns for its twelfth and final season on Monday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. For more viewing options -- including Young Sheldon -- swing by our fall TV premiere schedule.

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