11:01am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Comic-Con: 'Big Bang Theory' Writers Spill Secrets, Tease Season 9
The Big Bang Theory writers returned to Comic-Con on Friday with a fun-filled panel — complete with surprise appearances from stars Kunal Nayyar (who moderated) and Mayim Bialik.
The series will enter its ninth season, with the cast signed on through its already announced 10th run, though producers have been mum to indicate if that will be the end of the road for CBS' nerdy comedy.
The beloved comedy — created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady and overseen by showrunner Steve Molaro — ended its seventh season with its biggest cliffhangers yet. Amy (Bialik) broke up with Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who was poised to propose marriage. Meanwhile, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny's (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) impromptu Las Vegas wedding trip was derailed when he confessed to kissing another woman. As for Raj (Nayyar), he was unable to break things off with adventurous girlfriend Emily (Laura Spencer) and instead winds up professing his love for her. Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Howard (Simon Helberg) are adjusting to life in the home of the late Mrs. Wolowitz (Carol Ann Susi), and attempting to get permanent houseguest Stuart (Kevin Sussman) out the door.
The fun-filled panel was highlighted when Bialik and Nayyar read fan fiction that the writers came up with specifically for the Comic-Con crowd — Fifty Shades of Brown, which ended with this gem of a punchline: "She knew who she needed to be with: the sexiest people of all — television sitcom writers." (Watch the full panel, below, and go to the 12:50 mark for the Amy-Raj fanfic.)
As for some of the fun behind-the-scenes tales, science adviser David Saltzberg confessed that he was nervous to come up with the brilliant idea that Leonard and Sheldon had on the show. "I thought this was pretty good and submitted it. … Then the next time I got the script, I saw that Stephen Hawking was going to be reading the script — at which point I had a bit of a panic attack. My fear was he'd look at the script and say he couldn't agree to be on the show. On the upside, I was hoping he'd think it was a brilliant idea and write a paper on it — I'm still waiting for that."
Speaking of Hawking, Nayyar revealed that when he arrived on set for the first time to watch a run-through, Helberg had to do his mock Hawking voice in front of the beloved scientist. "We were all secretly looking at Hawking and he was smiling — he was loving it," Nayyar said. Added Lorre: "There is no weirder moment in your life than looking at Stephen Hawking and yelling 'action!'"
Other unfilmed tidbits include Lorre revealing that the Skywalker Ranch episode originally had an alternate ending. "The first ending that got shot, we found out at the end that Sheldon had stolen a lightsaber from Skywalker Ranch and I was deeply troubled. The character couldn't commit a felony," Lorre said. "Sheldon was never going to become a felon, that's how the second ending came about."
While the show's writers do not plot out its seasons in advance the way other scripted series tend to, producers offered a few teasers about what to expect when it returns Sept. 21.
• When did Sheldon buy the ring for Amy — and when was he planning to propose? Molaro declined to spill the details but said the answer to both burning questions will be in the premiere episode of season nine.
• Will Amy's backstory be explored? "I'd love to know those things as well. We live these characters week to week," she said. "You may learn she had a great, great uncle who didn't play by the rules," writer Eric Kaplan deadpanned.
• There's a Ghostbusters nod coming. There was a rights issue using a clip of the movie featuring Bill Murray and Prady revealed he stepped in to help. Turns out he and Lorre know Joel Murray — his brother, who was on Lorre's Dharma and Greg — to help get the clip cleared. He called his brother and Bill Murray wound up calling the studio executive and asked to know why they were being "so mean to The Big Bang Theory." Thirty minutes later, they had rights to anything they wanted.
What are you looking forward to seeing in season nine? Sound off in the comments below.
To sign up for Live Feed TV alerts for news and scoop on your favorite shows, please go to THR.com/FeedNews.