Young Sheldon: Does George Die? Showrunners Reveal What Just Happened

By Klein Felt Posted:
George Cooper in Young Sheldon

Following Young Sheldon's penultimate episodes, the creative team behind the series revealed if, in fact, Lance Barber's George Cooper died. 

The long-running Big Bang Theory spin-off has been leading up to this point since its very beginning. Heading into the series, fans did not know what to expect, other than that it would deliver a deep dive into one of TV's most beloved misfits. 

This meant getting a peek under the hood at what made Jim Parsons' Sheldon Cooper who he is, including dealing with the death of the genius' father when he was a teenager. 

[ Young Sheldon Season 7's Netflix Release: When Will It Start Streaming? ]

Did George Die in Young Sheldon Season 7?

George in Young Sheldon

Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Young Sheldon Season 7.

After seven seasons of fans knowing the death of Sheldon Cooper's father George was coming, Young Sheldon Season 7, Episode 12 finally killed Lance Barber's character off.

His father's death has been part of the Sheldon Cooper story since fans met the character in The Big Bang Theory, so when the prequel series, Young Sheldon was greenlit, fans knew George's tragic fate would be worked in somehow. 

Season 7, Episode 12 of the hit family comedy saw Barber's patriarch of the Cooper clan tragically suffer from a heart attack off-screen and die just as Sheldon is preparing to head off to California where fans would go on to find him in Big Bang Theory

The creatives behind the series were quick to address the major death, revealing the thinking behind having George die off-screen and not in the series finale. 

Speaking with Variety, Young Sheldon executive producer Steve Holland said they "always knew [they] were going to address [George's death] this season," it was just a matter of when:

"We always knew we were going to address it this season. 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. It was just a question of when. There was a version of this, as we talked about it earlier on, where it would have been: The finale would have been the death and the funeral."

He continued, revealing it was series creator Chuck Lorre who suggested putting George's death in the penultimate episode. He saw the series as "positive [and] uplifting," so they wanted to have the finale focus on the family "[starting] to piece itself back together:"

"I think it was Chuck [Lorre, executive producer] who said, 'This is mostly a positive, uplifting show. Let’s not leave the audience deep in their grief. Let’s watch the family start to piece itself back together, and let’s end with a little hope.' So then that re-shifted when we were going to do it."

They also wanted to make sure they did the long-awaited moment in a way that "was hopefully a little surprising:"

"And then also, just because we know some people are expecting it, I know there’s a lot of talk of whether it’s going to happen or not going to happen, but people who know 'Big Bang' are expecting it. We wanted to do it in a way that was hopefully a little surprising. So that’s why it happens at the end of [Episode 12] — we thought maybe we can catch people off guard. Even though they know it’s going to come, maybe they won’t see it coming then."

Holland then addressed the final moments the Cooper family sees George alive, a powerful sequence in the series where Lance Barber's man of the Cooper house heads off to work without any pomp or circumstance, just as if it were any normal day.

The Young Sheldon producer said it was all about addressing the "reality of the situation" in that scene where "you don’t recognize that these are big moments going into them:"

"We really talked a lot about that. It was interesting how much work we put into a scene where nothing exciting happened, and we kept making sure that was the case. We thought a lot about the reality of the situation is that you don’t recognize that these are big moments going into them. You only recognize that these are big moments in retrospect."

Instead of getting a weepy or overly emotional goodbye, the scene focuses on everyday moments:

"And dad leaving for work is a thing that happens every day. There was no reason for anyone to stop and think, you know, this moment is special. We also thought that moving forward it left them with a little bit more regret that they didn’t appreciate those moments, but it just really felt like that was very real."

He then shared that they kept pulling things out of the scene so it really was just an everyday morning for the Coopers so much so that no one "even says goodbye to [George]:"

"We even pulled out where no one says goodbye to him. We kept pulling things away [from the scene] so no one had a moment. For Missy, he offers her a ride to school and she says she’ll take the bus. Sheldon doesn’t even look up. Mary’s on him about making sure he’s not going to be late later on. No one even says goodbye to him."

George Cooper actor Lance Barber commented on this lack of a big send-off for his Young Sheldon character as well. 

In a conversation with TV Insider, Barber highlighted the idea that "this is how life turns out sometimes:"

"This is how life turns out sometimes at the best of times, potentially, it turns into the worst. So to me, that’s just good storytelling that’s relatable, which has been the success of the show, is that this family has always had challenges that are identifiable."

"We spent so much time making that moment as uneventful and unspecial as possible," Holland chimed in, maintaining that it brought a sense of reality to the series:

"That last moment with George is so every day no one takes note of it. We spent so much time making that moment as uneventful and unspecial as possible because that felt so real that you don’t know things are the last moments at the time. You only notice them in retrospect. And there are so many times where you just take all that for granted because it happens every day and there’s no reason to think that this is any special moment until after the fact. And that felt really sort of powerful."

How Will Young Sheldon Season 7 End?

While George may now be dead, Young Sheldon still has two episodes left of story to tell. 

Some had assumed Mr. Cooper's death would have happened in the series finale, but that did not happen, and it seemed to be for good reason. 

As executive producer Steve Holland put it, the show has had this optimistic point of view since the beginning, spreading a message of positivity throughout. 

Because of this, it would not have felt right to end on such a tragic moment for the Cooper family. 

So, the two-part finale (which airs on CBS on May 16), will see - as Holland says - the family "start to piece itself back together."

Of course, they will get their moments of mourning, celebrating the life of a man they held so dear. But after that, the series will almost surely pivot to focusing on what the Coopers will do without George in their lives. 

This will be headlined by Iain Armitage titular teenage genius heading off to Caltech, ending one journey and beginning another. 

Young Sheldon is streaming now on Paramount+ with the series finale set to air on CBS on Thursday, May 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

Read more about Young Sheldon below:

Young Sheldon Season 7: How Old Is Sheldon, Missy & All Main Characters (Ages Explained)

Young Sheldon Season 7: Is the Series Ending With the Seventh Season?

Full Cast of Young Sheldon Season 7 - Every Main Character & Actor In Final 2024 Episodes (Photos)

- In This Article: Young Sheldon (Season 7)
Release Date
February 15, 2024
Cable TV
Iain Armitage
Lance Barber
Zoe Perry
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.