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Young Sheldon EP Confirms [Spoiler] Will Return in Final Season — With Possible ‘Nod’ to Big Bang Storyline

Before Young Sheldon signs off this spring — and before the Georgie-and-Mandy spinoff debuts — the future theoretical physicist will reunite with a familiar character from seasons’ past.

“Tam is going to be back,” executive producer Steve Holland reveals to TVLine.

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Ryan Phuong, now 22, was just 15 years old when he was introduced as Sheldon’s childhood bestie in Season 1, Episode 2 of the Big Bang Theory prequel series. Tam went on to make 29 additional appearances through Season 4, and was last seen nearly three years ago, in an episode that aired in April 2021.

At the time, Sheldon was a college freshman at East Texas Tech; Tam was a senior at Medford High.

<em>Young Sheldon</em> Season 4, Episode 15: “A Virus, Heartbreak and a World of Possibilities” <cite>Photo by Erik Voake/CBS</cite>
Young Sheldon Season 4, Episode 15: “A Virus, Heartbreak and a World of Possibilities” Photo by Erik Voake/CBS
<em>The Big Bang Theory</em> Season 12, Episode 4: “The Tam Turbulence” <cite>Courtesy of CBS</cite>
The Big Bang Theory Season 12, Episode 4: “The Tam Turbulence” Courtesy of CBS

Tam was the first character created for Young Sheldon to cross over to Big Bang. His adult counterpart (played by Survivor’s Remorse actor Robert Wu) made an appearance in a Season 12 episode that revealed why Tam eventually earned himself a spot on Sheldon’s infamous enemies list:

“When I got accepted to grad school at Caltech, I was afraid to move so far away from home, so Tam said he’d move out here with me and be my roommate,” Sheldon explained to Amy. “Then over the summer, he got a girlfriend… even after reading all the pamphlets I gave him about social diseases. Anyway, Tam stayed with her in Texas and I had to move out here all by myself. It was [scary]. I was lonely. I thought I’d never make a friend again — and for a long time, I didn’t.” (Per Big Bang lore, Sheldon moves to Pasadena in 1994 and doesn’t befriend Leonard Hofstadter until 2003.)

That same episode revealed what became of Tam: He married his girlfriend Beth and together they had “amazing children,” including at least one son who was considering attending Caltech when Tam and Sheldon were reunited in 2018.

Asked if Tam’s return to Young Sheldon in the offshoot’s seventh and final season will be informed by what we learned on Big Bang, Holland tells TVLine, “I think there will be a nod to that.”

Young Sheldon currently airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS. Its 14-episode farewell run will conclude with a one-hour series finale on May 16. An airdate for Tam’s return has not yet been revealed.

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