From the upbeat mood of The Big Bang Theory writers at this morning’s Comic-Con panel for the series, you wouldn’t think that there was an intense cast negotiation going on, potentially delaying production of the show. All signals transmitted to fans in Ballroom 20 today are that Big Bang is moving forward. A Warner Bros TV rep told the crowd that the show is returning September 22 with a full-hour premiere, as CBS has planned. “I’ve thought about how I want the show to end, but I’m not going to say right now,” said executive producer Steve Molaro. He also mentioned to another fan that he doesn’t know when they’ll reveal Penny’s last name; it might be when she marries Leonard. However, the Comic-Con hall monitors, who typically let most questions through to the panel, were definitely on guard. When a Deadline reporter tried to ask Bill Prady and Molaro a question about the cast negotiation, the monitor exclaimed, “We can’t let you ask about that — it’s an illegal question.”

Sending fans into gushing screams was the surprise appearance of Big Bang co-star Wil Wheaton, appearing after a faux trailer with Kaley Cuoco for The Ape-ist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Do. “We talked about how it should be a real movie,” Wheaton said. Watch it here:

While cast members weren’t expected to appear at this panel, Big Bang star Jim Parsons was at Comic-Con yesterday to tubthump DreamWorks Animation’s Home.

This morning’s panel kicked off with an adorable performance of the Big Bang song “If I Didn’t Have You” by girl duo Garfunkel & Oates. Other behind-the-scenes chit-chat took place during the panel with Molaro saying it was his fault that Bob Newhart’s character Arthur Jeffries was killed off during the series. “He finally won the Emmy Award for guest comedy actor and I thought, ‘We gotta kill this guy off!’ “, quipped Molaro, to which moderator Craig Ferguson said, “And they say there’s no death in sitcom.” During the writers’ discussion of Star Wars, it was revealed that it was the first time ever, and on the The Big Bang set, that actors Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and James Earl Jones (Darth Vader) met. Both played versions of themselves on the show.
Check out the clip below of Season 7 highlights played during today’s panel: