Last year at this time, The Big Bang Theory writers panel at Comic-Con was peddling a bag of joy in the face of daunting cast negotiations, which lurked in the corner of Ballroom 20 like a pachyderm. This year’s panel was sweat-free and offered up a few surprise guests: Kunal Nayyar, who moderated the session, and Mayim Bialik, who came out to kibitz with the scribes.

As custom with this panel, the writers loop in the fans on their inspirations for episodes, i.e. the April 23’s “The Graduation Deterioration,” which centers on Raj’s broken drone. They broke the story after co-creator Chuck Lorre received a broken drone for Christmas.

comiccon 2015 placeholder“I couldn’t make the drone work and I knew the writers from Two And A Half Men couldn’t fix it,” Lorre said. “I brought in these guys (Big Bang Theory writers) because they’re the smartest guys in the world. Bill (Prady) thinks he fixed it, and an episode grew out of this.”

Executive producer Steve Molaro pointed out that the directions said “to flick the switch several times” to get the device to work.

“The instructions are that stupid,” said Lorre. The staff called in a young expert on drones to solve the problem. “He was 17 years old,” said Nayyar. “We’ve had a lot of stars on our show, and this guy was the biggest diva!”

As the discussion changed to talk about the Big Bang Theory fan fiction being written, Bialik stepped onstage to great applause, at which point Molaro handed the actress and Nayyar a page of fan fiction written by the BBT staff. It turned out to be a romance scene between the thesps’ characters Amy and Raj:

Comic-Con International 2015 - Inside "The Big Bang Theory" Writer's RoomRaj: Have you read Fifty Shades Of Grey? How about I introduce you to 50 Shades Of Brown?

Amy: That doesn’t make sense. Grey was the guy’s last name.

Raj: That kind of semantic nitpicking will get you a spanking!

Amy: Oh my! I should put out that semantic, you sexy beast of the Third World.

The scene ends with Amy realizing that she needs to be with the sexiest people of all: sitcom writers.

Other behind-the-scenes tales included Stephen Hawking on set (Lorre: “There’s no weirder moment when you look at Stephen Hawking and yell action!”), how the Lucas Ranch episode’s ending was retooled (Lorre: “Sheldon stealing a lightsaber  — his character would never commit felony”) and the technicalities of making out with Jim Parsons.

“It’s weird to qualify it,” said Bialik about smooching with Emmy winner.

“Whenever Sheldon and Amy have intimacy, it’s usually specific. It’s gently placed … our kisses are never (full) make-outs. We try a lot of different things,” Bialik said in regards to how the director changes their holds and blocking during intimate moments.

Another highlight during the sesh came when Lorre mentioned that a STEM scholarship started with UCLA to assist those students pursuing the hard sciences. To date, $4M has been funded. Lorre mentioned that many students majoring in science are doing so because of The Big Bang Theory. “When we started this show years ago, we never thought people would be making life choices from it.”

Season 9 of The Big Bang Theory premieres September 21 on CBS