The Big Bang Theory is really sending one of its fans on a suborbital flight, much like one of its lead characters at the end of last season. A fan named Mercedes, who asked the assembled cast and crew a question earlier in today’s Comic-Con panel, won a contest offered by the show that puts her on a space flight from private company COR Aerospace. She will fly with Astronaut Richard Searfoss on the Lynx Experience, a two-seat launch vehicle that goes up and down like a regular plane. The gift — which came after Simon Helberg, whose Howard Wolowitz character went into space last season on the show, pretended to turn down the offer from Searfoss — was really the only surprise of the panel. But five seasons in, Big Bang Theory still has such a massive audience on TV and the CBS comedy drew a massive crowd to the cavernous Hall H. Entering to cheers, cast members Kunal Nayyar, Kaley Cuoco, Helberg, Melissa Rauch, Mayim Bialik were joined by producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. Johnny Galecki couldn’t make it as his flight was delayed. Jim Parsons joined via satellite from NYC where he is performing on Broadway.
After banter from the cast and the producers, mainly about having Stephen Hawking and Leonard Nimoy on the show last season, the panel went to questions from the audience. Besides the usual, “what’s your favorite scene/line/etc,” fans seemed to be lovingly trying to outgeek the megageeks the cast play on TV. At one point Nayyar drew gasps when he pretended to be ignorant of who Magneto from the X-Men was. To another intricate question Nayyar responded, “Too many words man, we’re actors. Dumb it down man.” The crowd ate it up. A brief aside from Lorre on having the Big Bang Theory characters cross over to Two And A Half Men to tutor young Jake “because he’s such a dumbass” looked to provide a moment of actual news. But Lorre’s remark, as made evident from the producer’s raised eyebrow, proved to not be a revelation but a joke. The Big Bang Theory returns for its sixth season September 27.