LucasFilm is teaming up with CBS' long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory and ABC's first-year comedy The Goldbergs for a pair of episodes to support Star Wars Day on Sunday, May 4. Take a look at the first photo from The Big Bang Theory's episode featuring Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar wearing Star Wars shirts, then read on for more information.
The Big Bang Theory's episode, "The Proton Transmogrification", is set to air on Thursday, May 1, centering on the main characters gathering together to celebrate Star Wars Day, while Sheldon (Jim Parsons) sees visions of his mentor, Professor Proton (guest star Bob Newhart), who Sheldon believes is his own personal Jedi Master.
The series teamed up with LucasFilms' special effects company Industrial Light and Magic to recreate Dagobah, the world full of swamps and forests where Yoda spent his time in exile. LucasFilm experts consulted on the episode and provided props including a lightsaber while visiting the set, although the episode's final touches were completed at LucasFilm's San Francisco headquarters.
Here's what series co-creator Chuck Lorre had to say about this special episode, revealing that LucasFilm came to them with the idea for a Star Wars episode.
"We were approached by the Lucasfilm people to do something to celebrate Star Wars Day, which was nice."
Showrunner Steven Molaro added that it was the combination of guest star Bob Newhart's return and the call from LucasFilm that lead to the creation of this episode.
"We knew that Bob was coming back and Lucasfilm called us, and we realized that that this might be an opportunity to mix both stories and come up with something special."
While LucasFilm consulted on the episode, Steven Molaro revealed that the idea to re-create Dagobah came from the show's writers and producers.
"This was all from us. They're excited about everything we're doing, and they're going to help us with the special effects. Bob is going to be swinging a light saber around and they sent us a real one to use. They're going to help make it look and sound right. It's an amazing crossover for us."
Bob Newhart will actually be appearing as an iconic Star Wars character, although his exact role is being kept under wraps. Steven Molaro also discussed informing Bob Newhart about his new character, which involved a crash course in Star Wars lore.
"Chuck and I called Bob and let him know what we were thinking about. We had to give him a quick primer on the Star Wars mythology ... he picked it up pretty quickly and was very excited about it."
Bob Newhart himself revealed that he watched Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in doing research for this role.
""I talked to Chuck, Steve and [co-creator/EP] Bill (Prady) about it and they gave me the Phantom Menace so I knew what [Dagobah] would look like. They explained to me what the light saber was and what it could do -- and not to point it at Jim because it would kill him!"
LucasFilm visual effects guru Eddie Pasquarello served as the on-set consultant for the episode, revealing he was impressed with what the show had come up with, in terms of the Dagobah set.
"We at ILM were very excited to do the effects for it. Everyone loves the show there and to have the tie-in to May the Fourth felt like a good synergy and marriage. We jumped at it. We did talk about what the set would look like and they sent us pictures of the light saber hilt and the Dagobah set and we were impressed. We talked about the interactive lighting for the light saber and some of the ideas that were there. They did an amazing job of getting it together."
The show will feature an increase in set decoration and wardrobe with several Star Wars-themed "goodies" on the highly-detailed set.
The Goldbergs episode, "A Wrestler Called Goldberg", is set to air Tuesday, May 6, featuring Adam (Sean Giambrone) and Erica (Hayley Orrantia) waiting in line to watch Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, where they encounter a number of fans dressed in costume, including guest star Thomas Lennon. Of course, ABC is affiliated with Disney, which bought LucasFilm for over $4 billion in October of 2012.
May 4th has long been recognized as Star Wars Day, inspiring the catch phrase "May the 4th Be With You." The date has become an international phenomenon, with fans hosting screenings, costume contests and several other events.