Showrunner Steve Molaro justifies the possibility of Young Sheldon breaking The Big Bang Theory‘s established continuity. After 12 seasons, the nerdy sitcom wrapped up in May 2019 with an emotional two-part finale. CBS filled the massive void it left with its first and only spin-off show focusing on the unusual childhood of Sheldon Cooper.
Created by the same minds behind The Big Bang Theory, Chuck Lorre and Molaro, Young Sheldon debuted in 2017 as a prequel spin-off to its parent series. Set in 1989, it features Sheldon’s years as a high school student in Galveston, Texas – years before he met Leonard and the rest of the gang in Pasadena. Instead, the show focuses on his family life with parents George Sr. and Mary, siblings Georgie and Missy, and Meemaw.
As both The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon technically exist in the same reality, they share a single continuity. Molaro, on the other hand, is already advising fans to not be too mindful in the event that the prequel directly contradicts what’s been revealed in its parents series. He explains in a recent interview with TV Line that from a creative standpoint, they’re willing to break continuity for the sake of narrative for Young Sheldon.
Any time you make a shift in a show, it’s a little daunting. I had been through it so many times on Big Bang Theory, but if you don’t make those changes and you don’t go for it, I think the bigger risk is stagnating. We know he goes to college, [and] I’m fairly loyal to the Big Bang canon. If it’s going to hurt the show, I’m willing to get a little creative with it, but in this case, I think it was time. We were all ready to do it. Creatively, it’ll be good to get him in a new environment, so [there’s] not too much fear about that.
The problem with this new statement from Molaro is that Young Sheldon has long been deviating from The Big Bang Theory canon – something that fans of the original show are not happy with. Prior to the announcement that The Big Bang Theory was ending, there was no conscious effort to link the series together despite the fact that they’re supposedly telling Sheldon’s overall story. Knowing how popular The Big Bang Theory was, CBS positioned Young Sheldon to be its replacement, hoping that the massive fan base of the latter will simply focus on the spin-off – after all, they both have Sheldon as they’re main character. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that since many of those long time viewers feel the prequel is altering history when it comes to Sheldon’s family.
In all fairness, however, Young Sheldon hasn’t made a massive continuity issue aside from the significantly different characterizations of Sheldon’s family members. It does incorporate Easter eggs for fans of The Big Bang Theory which are fun to spot. It’s curious if this new comment from Molaro is an indication that things are set to change. The truth of the matter is the prequel is running out of time since fans know that in a few more years, he’ll be moving to Pasadena and that will effectively disconnect Sheldon from his family.