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It's no mystery or surprise that The Big Bang Theory is saying goodbye to CBS and its gigantic fanbase at the end of Season 12. What does remain mysterious, however, is the way in which the series will wrap up these characters' storylines. According to Mark Cendrowski, who has directed the majority of The Big Bang Theory's 270+ installments, says that the writers are likely ending things in non-explosive ways that allow the characters' lives to continue on per usual. In his words:
I will say the one thing about how they’ve approached the whole season: When we learned that this was to be the last season … writers have approached it, not so much as the show is wrapping up and we’ll never see them again and the finality of it all. It’s going to be the last episode and it’s going to end, but people’s lives still go on. The characters will be giving the idea that their lives continue on. It’s not going to be an atomic bomb where things blow up and you never see anybody again.
To be fair, I don't think anyone out there expected The Big Bang Theory to follow along the same series finale guidelines that were used by Gotham's writers and producers. However, a series finale usually is the last time viewers get to hang out with their favorite characters for new stories, so it wouldn't be so out of the ordinary for some fans to expect a game-changing reveal or two when Sheldon, Amy, Penny and the rest share their final half-hour together. Oh, and guest stars!
The Big Bang Theory showrunner Steve Molaro could very well have a few shocks in store for these characters, but they'll likely be of the "fun and not detrimental to anyone's relationships" variety. Perhaps someone will get a new job that may or may not be in a field where other Nobel Prize attempts are on the table. Perhaps Penny and Amy will get pregnant at the exact same time, allowing fans to leave the show wondering how awkward some of those situations would get in later months.
Part of me kind of wishes that the show ends with yet another Bernadette pregnancy. Maybe this time for triplets? Oh, and maybe if Raj and Anu could find some firm common relationship grounds to stand on, that'd be awesome too.
Speaking to that last point, viewers may want to water down any hopes about Kunal Nayaar's future as The Big Bang Theory's esteemed bachelor Raj Koothrappali. Some fans have thought that Raj could be the character who might get spunoff into his own standalone sitcom, but Nayyar isn't necessarily on that same page. Here's what he bemusedly told the crowd at the panel for Deadline's The Contenders Emmys.
I’m taking those cargo pants and burning them. I need a little bit of a break, as much as I’d miss playing that character. I’m ready to move on to different things now.
So I guess we shouldn't expect to hear about Raj becoming an astronaut and signing on for the next manned space mission, where he'll travel to Mars with three single female astronauts. Okay, so maybe that pitch needs some work, but the finale just needs to set it up properly with some NASA cameos and it'll be fine.
The Big Bang Theory director Mark Cendrowski did state that the show's series finale script hadn't been fully written yet, and that it was just in the outline stages. So it's feasibly possible that, after seeing that Cendrowski went public with this info, showrunner Steve Molaro re-outlined the finale to include one explosive moment after another, just to buck audience expectations. "Sheldon turns into a Transformer, what?""Stuart was actually a ghost this whole time?" "Penny's last name is Foryourthoughts?!?"
For now, The Big Bang Theory airs every Thursday night on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET.