The Big Bang Theory’s 11th season went out with a bang—Sheldon and Amy’s wedding finally happened—but something was missing. A previously announced tribute to Stephen Hawking was cut from the episode. A scene dedicated to the late British physicist, who died on March 14 after a lengthy battle with ALS, was supposed to air at the end of The Big Bang Theory Season 11 finale, “The Bow Tie Asymmetry,” but it was cut for time.
Big Bang Theory producer Steve Holland told TV Line the poignant scene was one of two cuts from the finale episode, explaining that a typical TBBT script is 40 to 45 pages long and “The Bow Tie Asymmetry” script was a whopping 65 pages.
“We spent the week [of production] paring it back,” the Big Bang Theory showrunner said.
“Some of those cuts were painful, but anything that wasn’t servicing [the central story] fell by the wayside.”
After the Big Bang Theory finale aired without the Hawking end tag, CBS teased the missing tribute on social media via a Twitter post that said, “Watch this space tomorrow morning for a very touching #BigBangTheory moment you DIDN’T see tonight…”
The missing scene, which finds Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) opening a posthumous wedding gift from the iconic science guru, was posted on Friday morning, much to the delight of Hawking’s fans and Big Bang Theory diehards. You can see it below.
Holland told The Hollywood Reporter that after Stephen Hawking’s passing in March, producers knew they wanted to honor him in some way, but they had already shot the next three episodes of the show.
“The wedding was a big episode and it seemed like a good chance to pay some tribute to him,” The Big Bang Theory showrunner told THR.
Holland explained that writer/producer Steve Molaro came up with the idea that Stephen Hawking sent a gift to Sheldon and Amy before he passed away.
“He had had the idea for the gift and for the inscription and we contacted Professor Hawking’s family to get their blessing. They were very nice and excited for us to do it. I’m glad it will be somewhere,” the Big Bang Theory showrunner said.
Stephen Hawking was a recurring guest star on The Big Bang Theory for five years. Hawking, who was a hero of several TBBT characters including Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard, appeared in seven episodes of the CBS sitcom, making his debut in the 2012 episode “The Hawking Excitation.” Stephen’s final appearance on the show was in the Season 11 premiere, “The Proposal Proposal.”
You can see Stephen Hawking on The Big Bang Theory below.