The Big Bang Theory spinoff show Young Sheldon is technically a prequel series, starting in the late ’80s and moving forward through the early ’90s — here is the Young Sheldon cast age, and how it compares to the characters. One of the many things that fans enjoyed about The Big Bang Theory was the phenomenal performances of the cast, which brought Sheldon and co. to life. This made the shoes that needed to be filled by the cast of Young Sheldon rather large. Sheldon has his faults, but the performances of both Jim Parsons and Iain Armitage ensure that audiences find him endearing, while still understanding how his simultaneous genius and cluelessness affect those around him.
As a child, Sheldon is surrounded by his family, neighbors, and friends, whose actors also needed to be able to demonstrate their character’s frustrations with the child prodigy, while still showing him adequate affection. These roles are no picnic, and the actors do a great job, especially when one considers the Young Sheldon cast ages. Some of these characters have made an appearance on TBBT, such as Mary, Missy, and George Jr., so it’s intriguing to see the lives they led that shaped them. Young Sheldon begins when Sheldon is in his first year of high school, chronicling his life as he moves into college as a teenager.
George Cooper Jr. – Montana Jordan
George Jr. (Georgie) is the oldest child in the Cooper family. He is different from Sheldon in every way, behaving like a typical, slightly rebellious, teenage boy. Georgie is 14 years old in Young Sheldon season 1, starting his freshman year alongside his 9-year-old brother, and 18 years old in season 6. Georgie goes through quite the arc, seeing his child born in season 6. While he can be mean to Sheldon, he has a good heart and would ultimately do anything to protect him. Georgie appeared twice on The Big Bang Theory in seasons 11 and 12, being 42 in his first appearance and 43 in his second.
Georgie is played perfectly by 20-year-old Montana Jordan. He is slightly older than the character, which may give him an edge in doing Georgie’s complexities justice. Of the cast, he is the only natural-born Texan (via Watch), so his accent is genuine. Before starring in Young Sheldon, Jordan appeared in The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, in which he played Jaden Furgeson. He also played young Georgie in an episode of TBBT. In terms of playing Georgie, Jordan had this to say (via Glitter Magazine): “When I first read the role of Georgie, I thought I was reading an autobiography. Everything lined up to my life back in Texas.”
Missy Cooper – Raegan Revord
Missy is Sheldon’s twin sister. Despite having shared a womb, Missy and Sheldon are complete opposites. She has no interest in academics and struggles through school, but she has a social intelligence that Sheldon could only dream of. Her snarky personality and undeniable street smarts make her one of the funniest characters on Young Sheldon. Missy is 9 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 and 13 years old in season 6. Missy was 27 when she made an appearance in The Big Bang Theory season 1, and was played by actress Courtney Henggeler.
16-year-old Raegan Revord of the Young Sheldon cast is a California-born actress who has spent her life performing (via National Today). Missy is her first major role, but she handles it with maturity beyond her years and has also had small roles on Grace & Frankie and Modern Family. Her performance as the snarky Missy just shows that she has a great career ahead of her. In terms of playing the sassy Missy Cooper, Revord comments that she’s actually quite different from her character (via Unclear): “I’m actually very different from Missy. I’m way more introverted and nerdier. Missy has so much confidence and I really admire her for that.”
Constance Tucker – Annie Potts
Constance (also known as Connie or Meemaw) is Sheldon’s maternal grandmother and a very special figure in his life, even through The Big Bang Theory. As an adult, Sheldon has criticisms for every member of his family, but in his eyes, Meemaw is perfect. Connie is 66 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 and 70 years old in season 6. Meemaw is also in an episode of The Big Bang Theory in season 9 after countless references are made toward her on the show, during which time she is a whopping 93 years old and played by actress June Squibb.
70-year-old actress Annie Potts has had an impressive acting career, with roles in Ghostbusters and Pretty in Pink. Her very first role on the screen was back in 1977, alongside Dick O’Neill in Hollywood High. She voiced Bo Peep in Toy Story 4 and reprised her role as Janine in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Potts has reportedly had tons of fun with playing Sheldon’s precious Meemaw and even got her inspiration for the character from a surprising source, saying (via USA Today): “I’ve sort of imagined her (like) Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, which came out in 1989. I think that Meemaw probably admired Dolly.”
Mary Cooper – Zoe Perry
Mary Cooper is Sheldon’s mother, who does her very best to raise such a precocious child. She is often at a loss about what to do with him, but it is clear in every episode that she adores her son very much. Mary is 39 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 and 43 in season 6. Mary Cooper had a surprisingly large role in The Big Bang Theory, first appearing in season 1’s “The Luminous Fish Effect”, when her character would’ve been around 57 years old and her final appearance in season 11 is 67, though she certainly looked far from it.
Mary is portrayed by actress Zoe Perry, who is currently four years younger than her character. She does a remarkable job at imitating the speech and behaviors of the actress who played Mary in TBBT, likely because that actress is her mother, Laurie Metcalf. Perry has appeared on Scandal and NCIS. Perry commented on the ease of taking over the role of Mary Cooper from her mother in an interview with The New York Post, saying, “Genetics definitely played a very helpful part in this portrayal because I didn’t have to really think about mimicking my mom as Mary — it’s just part of who I am, to an extent.”
George Cooper Sr. – Lance Barber
George Sr. is a well-meaning father who often misses the mark. He faces a lot of pressure to take care of his family and support his wife, who takes on too much pressure herself. George is 45 years old in Young Sheldon season 1, and 49 years old in season 6, which is only a year shy of the age that audiences know he will pass away (another serious issue that Young Sheldon will soon explore). George also has an affair at some point in the series, but Young Sheldon hasn’t shown it onscreen. He’s passed away by the time The Big Bang Theory rolls around.
George is played by Lance Barber, who is currently the same age as the character. Lance Barber is recognizable due to roles on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Gangster Squad, and For Your Consideration. George being different from how he’s talked about on TBBT is a hot topic among viewers. Barber told Matt & Jess TV Commentary that his role as George was left wide open for him to interpret: “There was a little backstory but it wasn’t deep. It was just set-ups and punchlines for jokes about Sheldon’s past, and what they painted was almost a cartoonish character. They left open a lot of room to discover more.”
Dr. John Sturgis – Wallace Shawn
John is 68 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 and 72 years old in season 6. A college professor and fellow genius, he is often regarded as the old version of Sheldon, as they both lack common social skills. He is an important friend to Sheldon and was even in a relationship with Meemaw. Sturgis is also considerably sweeter and more bubbly than Sheldon, referred to by Meemaw as a “teddy bear.” Professor Sturgis isn’t in The Big Bang Theory and isn’t mentioned either, despite being something of a mentor to him.
Dr. Sturgis is played by Wallace Shawn, who is nine years older than his character. He started acting late in life, but quickly gained traction, earning fame for his roles in films like The Princess Bride. He also does a lot of voice work, with the actor becoming notorious for voicing Rex in the Toy Story franchise. He’s also lent his voice for The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and The Incredibles. He recently appeared on the TV show Evil as Father Frank Ignatius
Tam Nguyen – Ryan Phuong
Tam is Sheldon’s first friend in high school, most likely to the fact that he has an equally difficult time making friends. He’s much closer in age to Georgie, as Tam is 15 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 and 19 years old in season 6. His family emigrated to America from Vietnam, and he has witnessed a great deal of trauma in his life, which sometimes results in outbursts. Tam does appear in one episode of The Big Bang Theory season 12, during which he is 44 years old and played by actor Robert Wu.
Tam is played by Ryan Phuong in Young Sheldon, who is two years older than his character. If fans take a look at his Instagram page, they will also be able to see that he is an avid dancer as well. Young Sheldon is Phuong’s big break, but he has had small roles on The Thundermans, Shameless, and The AXI: The Avengers of Extreme Illusions. He also has used his dance skills to appear as a dancer in the videogame Just Dance Kids 2.
Brenda Sparks – Melissa Peterman
Brenda is the blunt and down-to-earth neighbor to the Coopers. At the start of the series, she is rough around the edges and will often mock Mary and her family. However, as time goes on, she shows more signs of compassion. She has developed an attraction to George, who has returned those feelings, possibly leading to the infamous affair that audiences knew about before the start of the show. It is unclear how old Brenda is, but she is likely close in age to the actress that plays her, Melissa Peterman.
Peterman is 51 years old and is best known for her role as Barbra Jean in the popular sitcom, Reba. Peterman has had a long career, first appearing in Fargo. She’s also had roles in Here Comes the Boom, Pretty the Series, Baby Daddy, and most recently appeared in The Hammer. Brenda isn’t seen or mentioned in The Big Bang Theory, but it is alluded to in Young Sheldon that she’s the woman George ends up having an affair with. However, season 6 may have made the George affair situation all the more complicated.
Billy Sparks – Wyatt McClure
Billy 9 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 and 13 years old in season 6. Brenda’s son, he is a constant bully to Sheldon, who even talked about Billy in his adulthood on TBBT. While Billy loves to torture Sheldon, he has expressed feelings for Missy. Fans have theorized that Billy could end up being Missy’s infamous ex-husband. Though he’s never seen in The Big Bang Theory, Billy is mentioned several times over the course of the series, including that he put a peso up Sheldon’s nose and broke his collarbone on the playground.
Billy may not seem as intelligent as the other characters on the show, but the same cannot be said for 14-year-old Wyatt McClure, who portrays him. If fans of the show take a look on YouTube, they’ll see that McClure has a talent for stand-up comedy and has done a number of shows. He has also appeared in a few other roles, such as in the films Psychos, Glass Jaw, and Terror of Hallow’s Eve. In an interview with Pop Culturalist, Wyatt said of his character Billy, “I was supposed to be a bully, however, I think they saw me and changed my character to a silly, fun kid.”
Sheldon Cooper – Iain Armitage
Sheldon is the titular character of Young Sheldon that audiences had already gotten to know and love from TBBT. Sheldon is one of the smartest child geniuses on TV, and the search to find a young actor to follow up Jim Parsons’ portrayal could not have been easy. Sheldon is 9 years old in Young Sheldon season 1 when he starts highschool as a freshman with his older brother Georgie. In season 6 Sheldon is in college, and Sheldon is 13 years old in Young Sheldon season 6. Iain Armitage is 14-years-old, which makes his fantastic performance even more impressive.
He also grew up in a theatre-loving family, and showed skill as an actor from an even younger age. He’s appeared in Big Little Lies as Ziggy Chapman, Scoob!, and The Glass Castle. TBBT actor Jim Parsons was floored by Iain Armitage’s audition, telling EW, “Watching Iain bring this young version of this character to life that I’ve been working on for a decade of my own life, it was really moving, I felt such a sympathy for this little guy. It was kind of mind-blowing to see him brought to life through Iain.” Armitage certainly adds a new spin on the character, making Young Sheldon entirely his own show.