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Young Sheldon Bosses Had George Sr.'s [SPOILER] Planned Out Since Season 1

This article includes spoilers for "Young Sheldon" Season 7, Episode 12

"Young Sheldon" fans were dealt a devastating blow in Season 7, Episode 12. The episode, titled "A New Home and a Traditional Texas Torture" saw one of "The Big Bang Theory" universe's biggest storylines play out, and it was heartbreaking. As the Cooper family plans a major move to Houston and sets up for a momentous family picture, George Sr. (Lance Barber) dies. His death happens off-screen and his co-workers Principal Petersen (Rex Linn) and Coach Wilkins (Doc Farrow) deliver the news that George died instantly from a heart attack at work.

The scene was emotional and shocking to many viewers. Fans have always known George Sr. died by the time Sheldon turned 14 – a fact established on "The Big Bang Theory" –  but "Young Sheldon" bosses have been very tight-lipped about how this storyline would play out, leaving viewers guessing from season to season. However, it turns out, they've had George's death planned out from the very beginning. "We always knew we were going to address it this season," executive producer Steve Holland revealed to Variety. "We always knew we were going to get to the funeral this season. And we always knew that George's death would happen off screen, that we didn't want to witness it," he added.

Although the producers played around with the logistics of which episode the death would happen in, they knew it was going to be one of the last major plot points to bring the sitcom to a close. The penultimate episode of "Young Sheldon" promises to be an emotional one, as the Cooper family and their friends come together to mourn George. However, according to Holland, the finale will end with some hope as the family processes their grief.

George Sr.'s death has been a long-time coming

In February 2024, Steve Holland promised that "Young Sheldon" would not ignore George's death as it's a major event in Sheldon's (Iain Armitage) childhood. However, the show's creative team did their best to drag it out. During his interview with Variety, Holland explained that they had to make adjustments to the show's timeline to make sure George's death coincided with the final episodes of "Young Sheldon." "We stretched one year out into a couple seasons to keep Lance alive as far as long as we could. But he always knew this was coming," he said.

Actor Lance Barber has also been preparing for his character's death since Season 1, but he didn't always know how and when it would happen; he just hoped he would be around for a while. "I had fingers crossed from the beginning, knowing the history of the character, that I would make it to the end whenever that came. I always felt I had the luxury of being emotionally prepared for this, from day one," he said during a Television Critics Association panel (via TheWrap).

Barber loves the way his character has been humanized from his depiction on "The Big Bang Theory," which likened him to a Texas Homer Simpson. This probably played into the showrunners' decision to keep George around for so long, as he's become a fan-favorite character. Now, Barber is certainly happy to have left viewers with a positive impression of his character. "To be remembered that way is a big deal for me to see that to fruition," he said (via Screen Rant).