It was one Bazinga! after another at the Friday, July 19, 2013, panel for The Big Bang Theory at Comic-Con: International San Diego. For the first time ever, fans were invited into a virtual Writers' Room with the hit show's executive producers and writers for a lively discussion about the genius comedy's creative process. The experiment: Put seven funny writers and a funny-in-a-theoretical-kind-of-way science consultant in front of a costumed audience and see what can result.

The first surprise occurred during the panel's introduction, when the The Big Bang Theory Season 6 highlight reel was kicked off with a personal welcome from world-renowned author/physicist Stephen Hawking. In a pre-recorded video segment shot in his Cambridge office, Stephen Hawking greeted Comic-Con fans and, in his own inimitable, self-deprecating way, cleared up any confusion about our universal origins by covering the actual "Big Bang" theory in only 17 words!

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One surprise followed another as the panel's usual journalist moderator was supplanted by none other than series star Melissa Rauch, who plays the spirited microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, newly married to astronaut/engineer Howard Wolowitz (star Simon Helberg).

With the crowd still abuzz, the creative panel took a question from an insistent costumed fan, dressed up in authentic Star Wars regalia as the fully masked Ubese bounty hunter "Boushh," whose outfit Princess Leia used as a disguise in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Upon insistence from the panel, the costumed questioner was unmasked to reveal (surprise!) series star Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard Hofstadter. Johnny Galecki joined the panel for the remainder of the session. Not revealed: whether Johnny Galecki was also wearing Princess Leia's metal bikini!

B. Alan Orange