by Billy Nilles | Thu., 16 May. 2019 3:00 AM
It may have all started with a big bang, but, after a record-breaking 276 episodes, it's about to be all over.
The Big Bang Theory signs off for good on Thursday, May 16, meaning that there's only one last bazinga left in the pipeline before we're forced to say farewell to Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, and the gang after 12 laugh-filled seasons. And while there's still a few questions left to be answered by the big one-hour series finale—Will the elevator ever be fixed? And will we ever learn Penny's maiden name?—there's a bigger one looming for when the credits roll and it's all over.
Namely, when will we be able to get our next fix of this beloved group of actors who've kept us entertained for over a decade on TV's longest-running multi-cam sitcom?
Now that Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik have said most of their tearful goodbyes—there's no doubt a few more weepy tributes to the job of a lifetime to come during the airing of tonight's emotional conclusion—it's time to start looking towards the future.
So before we say goodbye for good, let's take a look at the disparate paths each of CBS' biggest stars are heading down now that they've flown the coop.
While Johnny Galecki is putting down the comic books for good as he says goodbye to experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter, he's poised to return to another iconic role one more with the expanded season two order of Roseanne spinoff The Conners coming to ABC this fall. Galecki reprised the role of David Healy, ex-husband to Sara Gilbert's Darlene, for a handful of episodes in the show's first season and the door was definitely left open for more. Despite Galecki telling TV Line in February that he wouldn't consider jumping in full-time—"I think I need a little bit of space from being a series regular again," he said—he's hoping to "visit as much as possible." And Gilbert, who serves as EP on the series, remains hopeful as well. "I know he loves doing the show. I love having him. We have a magical time together," she told the outlet in January. "I would anticipate that he would do some [episodes] but I don't want to speak for him."
And while the actor, 44, doesn't have any other gigs lined up just yet—his most recent stab at producing, CBS' Living Biblically, was canceled after 13 episodes in 2018—he's busy preparing for his biggest role yet: fatherhood. On May 3, 2019, he and girlfriend Alaina Meyer announced that they were expecting their first child together. "We are absolutely over the moon to announce that we will soon be welcoming a little one into this crazy and wonderful world," he wrote on social media, sharing the big news. "There truly is love out there for all. We hope ours is the ember of yours, as we feel yours is the ember of ours."
With Melissa Rauch saying goodbye to Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz after joining the show in season three and becoming a series regular in season four, she's already begun to carve out new gigs. Not only did her indie film Ode to Joy make its film festival debut this part April, but she has another film, Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat co-starring none other than Meryl Streep, in post-production, due for a 2019 release. While wrapping up filming on TBBT, she landed her next TV gig, playing Shira, wife of Paul Scheer's Keith on Showtime's recent Wall Street comedy Black Sunday. With the show recently renewed for a second season to debut on the cable net in 2020, it's looking likely she'll be back with greater availability.
When Mayim Bialik first learned she had to say goodbye to neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler, she opened up about the show ending in a blog post, asking, "And now I start to figure out what next. Where will life take me? Where will this career go? What do I want?" Up next she has a voice role in The Inspector Chronicles, a quasi-parody of Doctor Who making the leap from short to feature film. She'll reprise her role as the voice of the Inspector's time machine, known as B.O.O.T.H. Aside from that, she doesn't have any major projects lined up, aside from preparing to not see her close-knit cast the way she'd grown accustomed to. "We'll have to see what our lives look like," she told Us Weekly in early May about the chance they'll remain close. "I mean, we're all going to be on different schedules now; it's very different."
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While Jim Parsons was the one who'd had enough with The Big Bang Theory, opting not to renew his contract to play socially awkward theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper and bringing about the demise of the show in the process, he won't be escaping the show's orbit entirely. He's still attached as both executive producer and narrator of prequel series Young Sheldon, returning for a third season on CBS this fall. "There was no factor; there was no situation that I was like, 'Well, I've had enough of that.' No. There was nothing like that. It was just…when you know, you know," he explained to The Hollywood Reporter in mid-May.
He's since become attached to a handful of Netflix projects, appearing in their recent Ted Bundy film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, executive producing mentee Ryan O'Connell's autobiographical comedy series Special, and signing on to reprise his role in their movie version of Ryan Murphy's Broadway production of The Boys in the Band, due on the streaming service in 2020.
Simon Helberg doesn't have any projects listed in development as of now, but he has had a burgeoning movie career. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Florence Foster Jenkins and also appeared in Paint It Black. Maybe he's holding out hope for a spinoff for his Howard Wolowitz? When THR asked creator Chuck Lorre if he was gestating on ideas for any Big Bang character spinoffs, he coyly responded, "You can't help but gestate a little..."
Kunal Nayyar has the flick Think Like a Dog in post-production and the upcoming Trolls World Tour in pre-production. Nayyar provides the voice of Guy Diamond in the movie series. Aside from that, however, the former Raj Koothrappali is looking forward to some much needed family time. "I'm going to go to India, spend more time with my parents," he told Parade in late April. "I left my country when I was 18, so it's important for me to go home and spend time with mom and dad, so that's the main focus right now.
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Kaley Cuoco's life after The Big Bang Theory is going to be animated. Cuoco has signed on to voice and executive produce DC Universe's new Harley Quinn series. She'll play the titular character in the new streaming series targeted toward mature audiences. In 2017, she got the rights to The Flight Attendant, a miniseries based on the book of the same name, which she was poised to star in. The Flight Attendant follows Cassandra Bowden, a flight attendant, who wakes up, hungover, in her hotel room with a dead body next to her. She goes about her day and heads back to New York. is she the killer? That's what she wonders. "This is the first time I have a project that I'm kind of nurturing from the beginning, so it's been a really interesting experience," she told PopSugar in March. "It's got a lot of aspects. It's very sexy. It's a really well-written book, which is why I wanted to option it. I'm ready to bring the character to life."
Cuoco is also the host of Shell's new YouTube show The Great Travel Hack, which follows two teams as they "battle it out to travel from LA to NYC using the lowest amount of CO2 emissions possible."
For a more in-depth look into Cuoco's future, head on over here.
The Big Bang Theory's hour-long series finale airs Thursday, May 16 at 8 p.m. on CBS, with a retrospective special entitled Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell hosted by Galecki and Cuoco airing at 9:30 p.m., taking fans behind the scenes of the record-breaking comedy.
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