Simon Helberg will reprise his role as Howard Wolowitz in Young Sheldon, which could effectively set up The Big Bang Theory’s next spin-off.
Simon Helberg will make a voice cameo as Howard Wolowitz in Young Sheldon season 5, and his appearance could set up the next The Big Bang Theory spin-off show. As part of the original cast for CBS’ nerd-centric sitcom, the actor played Howard for all of its 12 seasons on the air. Starting off as a trying-hard ladies’ man, he became the first one to settle down, marrying Bernie (Melissa Rauch) in the season 5 finale, and before going to the International Space Station.
Howard was the closest with Raj (Kunal Nayyar) in The Big Bang Theory, although he’s had a great relationship with the rest of the Pasadena gang. That being said, his dynamic with Sheldon (Jim Parsons) was very much contentious. The socially-inept genius loved poking fun at all of his pals, but he particularly liked ragging on Howard because he wasn’t a physicist and didn’t have a Ph.D. like the rest of his male friends. Over time, Howard learned to just tune out some of Sheldon’s insulting comments, focusing on the fact that, at the end of the day, he’s the only one among his group who went to space. Despite their constant bickering, the pair proved several times that they had a solid friendship. So, when it was reported that Howard is set to make a cameo in Young Sheldon, many who’d watched The Big Bang Theory were thrilled.
As confirmed by a promotional clip, Howard will make a voice cameo in Young Sheldon season 5, episode 7 titled “An Introduction to Engineering and a Glob of Hair Gel.” In the video, he helps Sheldon talk about engineering, as his younger counterpart struggles with an engineering class in college. The snippet features the pair’s signature bickering which is nostalgic for fans. While this isn’t the first time that a cast member from the original show gets involved in the prequel, this could be more than just a simple guesting. Instead, it could very well be a set-up for the next The Big Bang Theory spin-off. Back in season 3, Kaley Cuoco voiced the water in Sheldon’s dream; meanwhile, in the season 4 premiere, Mayim Bialik reprised her role as Amy Farrah-Fowler, as she revealed that she and Sheldon has a son named Leonard Cooper. CBS didn’t publicize both of those appearances, saving the surprise for their respective episodes instead. Now, not only did they allow Helberg’s cameo in Young Sheldon to get to the press, but they’re also prominently using it for their marketing for the said outing. This might be to draw attention to the upcoming episode which might explicitly reveal that the engineer will get a Young Howard offshoot.
Given The Big Bang Theory’s enduring popularity, it makes sense that CBS would want to further capitalize on it by launching another spin-0ff. It’s no secret that the network was looking to renew the long-running show for a couple more years before it was canceled due to Parsons’ decision to exit the sitcom. Since then, Young Sheldon has established itself as an equally popular comedy – but given the timeline, it can’t be on the air as long as its parent sitcom did. At this point, it’s confirmed to run until at least season 7, which could also be when it ends. So, CBS needs to keep The Big Bang Theory universe going with another off-shoot. Doing one that takes place after Sheldon’s Nobel win seems unlikely with all the original cast members busy with their respective careers, releasing another period show sounds like a good idea. After all, they already have a working format thanks to Young Sheldon. Most importantly, Young Howard already has a great premise. It could offer a solid backstory to Mr. and Mrs. Wolowitz’s marriage, which ended in the former’s mysterious disappearance.
Assuming that this is the case, expect Helberg to provide narration for Young Howard, much like Parsons is doing for Young Sheldon. Despite calls for a reunion, there’s currently no word if The Big Bang Theory cast will come together for an HBO Max/Friends-style special anytime soon. This potential new spin-off could be the next best thing fans of the original sitcom can have in the meantime.