Friday’s “The Big Bang Theory” panel was supposed to be lacking in its usual Comic-Con star power, with guests scheduled to favor writers over actors.
Fans got their first surprise when Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on the show, surprised everyone as the moderator for the panel that was to include executive producer and showrunner Steve Molaro, co-creator and executive producer Bill Prady, co-executive producers Dave Goetsch, Eric Kaplan, Steve Holland, Maria Ferrari, Jim Reynolds, and UCLA astrophysicist and technical director, David Saltzberg.
Things were going well, with Rauch keeping the discussion moving as if she’d been moonlighting as a Comic-Con panel moderator for the years and proving especially adept at joining the comedic antics of the panel, while keeping the discussion from veering off into orbit. (when Rauch asked the panel whether it was harder to write science or “geekery,” Steve Holland divulged, “We’re all pretty comfortable with the geekery.”)
But then Rauch turned the questions to the fans, allowing an audience member dressed as Boushh (Princess Lei’s alter ego in “Return of the Jedi”) to ask the panel if they were anything like the show’s characters.
“Reveal yourself!,” Rauch demanded.
The masked questioner obeyed, surprising fans when he turned out to be Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard Hofstadter on the sitcom. “Someone who loves you,” he answered, referencing Princess Leia’s classic line to Han Solo in “Return of the Jedi,” before bounding to the stage and taking a seat next to Prady.
The fans’ questions continued and, given the nature of the show and the current evironment, it was expected that the panelists field a question regarding their own fandom. One fan asked if they’d become fans of anything since they began writing for the show.
Molaro was first to respond, stating that he didn’t like the Green Lantern before and he didn’t like the Green Lantern now.
“We need more ‘Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’” he finally added.
One of the funnier exchanges started when a geologist asked why Sheldon’s character always picks on that particular field of science.
Holland joked that “those lines are all Jim Parsons — Against our wishes.”
Then Prady egged the poor fan on, sarcastically saying, “It’s not really a science, it’s rock collecting, isn’t it?”
Saltzberg chimed in, saying “I’ve had to stay out of the geology building [on campus]. They actually will throw rocks at you.”
Questions also ranged from how Parsons’ Sheldon would handle Comic-Con (with “coping mechanisms” and citizens arrests for line-cutting), to what inside jokes made it into the scripts.
Steve Holland told the audience that they would sometimes incorporate the names of actual bullies from their childhood, but then would remove them because they would get scared the bully would come after them.
“That’s a bully who’s good at his job,” dead-panned Eric Kaplan.
Many questions were also answered about what fans can expect to see in season 7.
Molaro revealed that “we will see Leonard on the ship,” referring to the cliffhanger where Leonard goes to work with Hawking and his crew for four months.
He also added that characters Amy and Bernadette may take their first trip away together without Penny.
As for whether Sheldon and Amy will ever consummate their relationship, Molaro claimed that “it is a possibility.”
Reynolds noted that there’s a sweetness to the “glacial pace” to their relationship.
One of the final questions surrounded whether we’ll get to meet Leonard’s siblings, to which Galecki initially said he didn’t know, but that he’s looking forward to meeting Leonard’s father and other family members.
“The Big Bang Theory’s” next season starts September 26th and the sixth season arrives on DVD September 10th.