Comic-Con: 'Dark Matter' Marks New Start For DC's Comic Line


The new imprint is DC’s “most aggressive push towards new concepts,” according to co-publisher Jim Lee.

A year after DC Entertainment re-energized its main superhero comic book line, the publisher is ready to build out something altogether new — and it all starts with this summer’s big summer storyline, Dark Nights: Metal.

“This is about a new cosmology in the DC Universe,” Metal writer Scott Snyder teased about the six-issue series beginning next month during the Friday afternoon panel at San Diego Comic-Con. “We wanted you feel as if it’s an engine of new. New villains, new territory to explore.”

The storyline for Metal follows the introduction of something called the “Dark Multiverse,” which Snyder described as an ever-changing reality that responds to the viewer’s subconscious fears — which will produce the villains of the piece, a group of evil Batmen called the “Dark Knights.” (Those characters, which mix Batman together with other members of the Justice League, will face off against the regular heroes in a spin-off storyline called Justice League: Bats Out of Hell.)

“I’ve never felt as confident and not nervous about a story as I do about this,” Snyder told the crowd. “I love it that much. It’s just what I’d want to pick up and read this summer.”

Spinning out of the Metal storyline will be seven new comic book series under the banner Dark Matter; five of the titles (and the overall banner) have been previously announced, but there are two new additions — Brimstone by Justin Jordan and Philip Tan, and The Terrifics by Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis.

“This is a snapshot of the future of the DCU,” DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said about the new line, which launches its first titles in December. (Titles will launch at a rate two per month, priced at $2.99.) “This is the way we push out and explore new concepts and new ideas.”

The new line will take place in the central DC Universe, and creators explained how that will work in practice; Damage will focus on a creature who has always been in the background of the universe, but is now “on the loose,” said writer Robert Venditti, while The Immortal Men is, according to James Tynion, “the secret history of heroes and villains in the DC Universe… These are new characters, but they exist in the same tapestry.”

The Dark Matter line is, according to DiDio, “the most aggressive push towards new concepts we’ve done in some time.” Co-publisher Jim Lee said that the line was the result of a desire to reintegrate artists in core creative decisions at the publisher. “We were kind of lamenting the fact that artists were being pushed off to the sidelines and we wanted to bring them back into the creative process,” said Lee, the artist of Dark Matter series Immortal Men.



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'Twin Peaks' Offers a Weird (and On-Brand) Retrospective in Comic-Con Debut



4:56pm PT
by

Chris E. Hayner

The franchise shared a damn fine cup of coffee (and many memories) about the show’s long history during its first-ever Comic-Con appearance.

For those expecting Showtime’s Twin Peaks Comic-Con panel to be filled with new footage or broader looks at what’s to come in its upcoming episodes, it’s unlikely you know David Lynch. Instead, what old and new fans of the franchise got during the show’s Comic-Con debut Friday were stories about their time in Twin Peaks, what working with co-creator Lynch is like and perhaps the tiniest tease of an upcoming interaction.

 

The panel, which also served as a reminder of the show’s upcoming move to Sundays at 8 p.m. starting Aug. 6, opened with moderator Damon Lindelof setting the tone in Hall H by introducing a welcome video from Lynch. While neither he nor co-creator Mark Frost were able to attend the panel, the greeting that was the perfect amount of weirdness (aka, a lot). 

 

The footage began with the director welcoming everyone to the panel before suddenly warning someone behind the camera not to go through a door or they’ll fall four stories to the ground. They did and the camera cut out. When it came back, Lynch was holding a seemingly dead human arm, from which he pried a golf ball. “This is supposedly the last golf ball O.J. Simpson hit before he went to prison,” Lynch explained before the camera cut to static.

 

 

Finally, Lynch got his proper introduction out of the way, greeting the audience. From there, it all became a calamity as behind the camera, Lynch chastised someone for bringing a horse into the room. What followed was an array of gunshots, horse sounds and broken glass as the director shouted, “That was a damn good lamp!” Lastly, after claiming the horse stepped on his cat, Lynch walked off camera only to be attacked by the feline.

 

Could there have been a better way to kick off a Twin Peaks panel? We think not.

 

The cast then took the stage and did the best they could to talk about the show without giving anything away. It was most difficult for James Marshall (Jimmy Hurley), as his character has only briefly been seen this season. What he was able to share was that this version of Jimmy is a lot different from the kid fans remember. He likened it to the vast change in Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), who went from misguided youth to deputy in the original series.

 

 

Ashbrook, for his part, is ecstatic for his role in The Return. He also hinted, albeit on accident, that Bobby and Hutch (Tim Roth), evil doppelganger Dale Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) associate, may have an interaction at some point in the new series.

 

Given that the focus of the new season has been on finding the Black Lodge, with Bobby leading Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster) and Hawk (Michael Horse) into the woods based on a note from his deceased father, it’s entirely possible that the good guys of Twin Peaks would cross paths with evil Cooper and his gang of thugs. When that happens is anyone’s guess.

 

Beyond that small tease of what’s to come, the majority of the panel played like more of a retrospective than anything else, as the cast told stories about how they became involved and went through their own personal histories with Lynch and Twin Peaks. Surprisingly, a few of the new cast have yet to watch the original series.

 

They all couldn’t speak more highly of their leader, though.

 

“[David’s] full of joy and life and he has this peace about him that’s unlike anyone I’ve ever experienced,” Matthew Lillard (William Hastings) says. “He’s a fantastic human being.” MacLachlan adds, “His belief in his process and his vision and his point of view is so profound and focused and he inspires me that way because he follows this dream in his mind. I find that inspirational in my life, to go after the thing I believe in the strongest.”

 

 

However, there is one thing Lynch is stern about, according to MacLachlan, and that’s actors improvising dialogue. “In one scene, Jim [Belushi] decided he was going to adlib a line in this heightened moment of euphoria, which he did,” the actor remembers. “And we heard, ‘Cut!’ David has one of those megaphones and he said, ‘Mr. Belushi, do I have to report you to the principal’s office?’ And Jim went, ‘No sir! Got it!'”

 

It’s these stories and insights to working within the world of Twin Peaks that made the panel special — remember, Comic-Con is an event for fans and rarely breaking news. After all, a major TV show coming to Comic-Con and not showing any sort of footage or revealing anything major in terms of the plot is not very common. Yet for Twin Peaks it makes perfect sense. Besides, even the cast has no idea where the story is going so spoilers are practically impossible.

 

Twin Peaks airs Sundays at 9 on Showtime. As of Aug. 6, it will most to 8 p.m.



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'Game of Thrones' Comic-Con Trailer Teases Jon and Daenerys' First Meeting


“I believe you have a role to play, as does another,” says Melisandre (Carice van Houten) in a new look at the next few weeks of ‘Thrones.’

It took six full seasons (plus one episode) for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to return home to Westeros. Now that she’s back in the Seven Kingdoms, it’s only a matter of time before her story starts to intersect with everyone else’s.

With that said, at Comic-Con, HBO unleashed a new Game of Thrones trailer that ends on an incredibly exciting note for everyone waiting to see Dany interact with the show’s Westeros-based contingent. In the final scene, the Mother of Dragons meets up with Melisandre (Carice van Houten) in the great hall of Dragonstone. The Red Woman makes a grand overture: “I believe you have a role to play — as does another.”

She’s not doing a Yoda impression, but Melisandre’s words nonetheless boast shades of that epic Empire Strikes Back moment in which the old Jedi Master teases that there’s hope for the galaxy beyond just Luke Skywalker. And indeed, there’s a similar thread here in that there are more than just the one Targaryen: Daenerys aside, we also know Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has fire coursing through his veins, thanks to season six’s reveal that he’s the secret son of the late Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

Author George R.R. Martin’s novels on which Game of Thrones are based come under the overarching title A Song of Ice and Fire, a name that still lacks an official explanation in the text. But fans have speculated for years that the true meaning of the title comes down to both Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen putting the ice and fire of their family names to good use in the great war ahead. Melisandre’s moment at the end of the new trailer speaks to that theory, strongly implying that Dany and Jon need each other if either one is to survive the dark and terror-filled nights ahead.

Just as Melisandre is about to put Jon Snow on Daenerys’ radar, the King in the North already has the Dragon Queen on the mind. In the season seven premiere, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) discovers that Dragonstone sits atop a great mound of dragonglass, an instrumental substance in the war against the White Walkers. The previous preview for this coming week’s episode, “Stormborn,” already shows Jon entertaining the idea of seeking out Daenerys’ help. In this latest trailer, however, he specifically says her name: “Daenerys has dragon fire.”

Do yourself a favor and take a moment to geek out over hearing Jon Snow say the word “Daenerys” for the first time. We waited a long time to hear him say that word. Feels good, doesn’t it? Now imagine what it’s going to be like when we see Jon and Dany in the same scene together.

It’s alright. Take another minute. When you’re finished, watch the trailer again.

Follow THR.com/GameOfThrones for news, interviews, theories and more all season long.



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Jason Bateman Talks 'True Detective' Inspiration at 'Ozark' Premiere


The actor-turned-director and co-star Laura Linney were joined by Cary Fukunaga and Netflix’s Cindy Holland for the New York premiere.

Ozark star, director and executive producer Jason Bateman kicked off the premiere of his new Netflix series on Thursday with a bang: He was 40 minutes late thanks to his scheduled appearance on The Late Show.

Bateman apologized for his delay and doled out thank yous, saving the last for his wife, Amanda Anka, for “allow[ing] me to take a nice, big swan dive into my pool of narcissism” with his duties on the show.          

Now streaming its first 10 episodes, the drama centers on Marty Byrde (Bateman), a financial planner who also launders money for a Mexican drug cartel. To save himself from execution after his partner skims $8 million, Byrde uproots his unfaithful wife, Wendy (Laura Linney), and their children to Missouri’s isolated haven for Midwestern tourists — the Lake of the Ozarks — to recoup the cash (and then some).

Six days before he’s set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Bateman relayed the directing advice he received from one of his friends. “Cary Fukunaga is somebody who bit off a huge thing with [season one of] True Detective,” he began. “His aesthetic, his taste, his technique is something that I really admire and I tried to learn a lot from him.”

Bateman oversaw four episodes of Ozark, but had originally intended to follow Fukunaga’s example and direct every installment. Then he learned “that was just really tough on everyone, including him, and [Fukunaga] recommended that I maybe try to direct less.”

Returning to television four years after concluding her Emmy and Golden Globe-winning run on Showtime’s The Big C, Linney said that today, “If you want to work in a certain way — and if you want to make a living — it’s [in] television.” She added that film isn’t what it used to be, saying, “I mean for character-driven actors, there’s not a lot film-wise.”

Netflix earned her particular praise for “being so generous with letting artists be artists and then letting people do what they know how to do. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful place to be.”

When asked how many seasons he envisions for Ozark on Netflix, showrunner Chris Mundy said, “We’ve always talked about five,” adding, “Four would be fine, six would probably be fine, but it’s always felt like that’s a good number to tell the story.”

Meanwhile, lead actress Linney fancies even more, thanks to the people involved and camaraderie on set: “I’d be very happy with eight.”



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'Walking Dead' Season 8 Trailer Time Jump Explained


The AMC zombie series looks queued up to hit the fast-forward button in the forthcoming war-driven season eight.

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Walking Dead comic books.]

The Comic-Con trailer for The Walking Dead‘s season eight was like a classic issue of the Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard comic book series on which the show is based: quick flashes of scenes popping here and there, with monologues linking the otherwise disparate images together.

It was like the comics in another key way: the ending.

In a surprise move, the final image of the Comic-Con trailer features what appears to be Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as an old man — or, at least, an older man. After more than four action-packed minutes, the final stretch of the teaser slows things down, with the return of the soft music commonly associated with Morgan Jones (Lennie James). The camera focuses on a cane and then on a bouquet of flowers, before landing on a cloudy and ethereal bird’s-eye view of an older Rick, with short cropped hair and a massive beard, waking up.

Was The Walking Dead all a dream? Hardly, though the fear is understandable. (In fact, in the comics there is a memorable “it was all a dream” sequence featuring an epic alien invasion; sadly, it’s not canon.) Instead, what’s being teased here is some version of the biggest twist of the post-Glenn Walking Dead era: the story skipping forward in time.

In the comics, following the events of the forthcoming “All Out War,” Rick and his fellow survivors succeed in their vision of building a brighter future for their communities. Within years of the war, Alexandria and the surrounding areas are loaded with fully functioning farms, barter systems, large stretches of road that are completely walker-free (thanks to people who patrol the open world) and even a prison that houses one familiar face. (One clue: He talks an awful lot about “shitting pants” in the trailer.)

As for Rick? He’s the main man in charge, but he’s still seen better days, if only physically. The zombie-killing hero suffers an injury in All Out War that leaves him needing a cane for the rest of his days. Somewhere along the way, he decides it’s time for a makeover, too, hence the huge beard and shaved head.

The combination of the Morgan music and the fogged-up view of Old Man Rick suggests that this could be one of the show’s many fantasy sequences — a la Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) joining in on a family dinner at the end of the season-seven premiere — but it’s such a massive moment in the comics that it’s virtually impossible for the show to sidestep it. But why are there already glimpses of Old Man Rick when production on season eight is still a ways away from completion? And why would the Walking Dead team feel willing to pull the curtain back on such a big moment this early on?

However it shakes out, one thing is clear: The Walking Dead is aiming for a faster and lighter tone in its season-eight trailer. Look no further than the music choices — “Music for Pieces of Wood” by LSO Percussion and “Prisoner’s Song” by the Dropkick Murphys — and the one-liners that some of the characters get to deliver, like Jerry: “Thank you, your Majesty, for being such a cool dude.” There’s even Rick’s rousing line to his fellow soldiers: “No matter what comes next, we’ve won. We’ve already won.” After an insanely bleak season seven, it sure looks like The Walking Dead is stepping into the light, even as it marches to war, in season eight.



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Comic-Con: Disney XD Sets 'Milo Murphy's Law' and 'Phineas and Ferb' Crossover (Exclusive)


The episode will premiere in 2018.

Milo Murphy, here come Phineas and Ferb.

Disney XD is set to announce Friday at San Diego Comic-Con that Milo Murphy’s Law will get a crossover episode with Phineas and Ferb scheduled to premiere in 2018.

Both shows hail from Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, who have planned on doing the crossover since the beginning of Milo Murphy’s Law. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed several Easter eggs planted throughout the first season that hinted at the fact that Milo and his friends live in Danville, also home to Phineas and Ferb.

In addition to Phineas and Ferb, the crossover also will feature characters including Perry the Platypus, Doofenshmirtz, Candace, Isabella, Baljeet and Buford.

“We’ve always known that Milo lived just a couple neighborhoods away from Phineas and Ferb,” Povenmire and Marsh said in a joint statement. “We’ve planted lots of clues and Easter eggs in this first season, so a lot of fans have figured it out. But what they don’t know is that the story arc of Milo Murphy’s Law has been designed from the very beginning to lead us to a big crossover with all the Phineas and Ferb characters. It’s planned for early in the second season and we can’t wait for the fans to see these two worlds collide.”

Milo Murphy’s Law follows 13-year-old Milo Murphy (Al Yankovic, aka “Weird Al”), the fictional great-great-great-great grandson of the Murphy’s Law namesake. Milo is the personification of Murphy’s Law, where anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The series was recently renewed for a second season.

Phineas and Ferb wrapped production two years ago after 126 episodes, five one-hour specials and an original movie, but the series continues to air on Disney XD.

Povenmire and Marsh are set to announce the crossover at the Comic-Con panel for Milo Murphy’s Law that also will feature Daron Nefcy, creator and executive producer of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, as they discuss the process of making the shows.

Also during the panel, Disney XD showed a preview of the upcoming one-hour special Missing Milo, which airs at 7 a.m. ET Saturday. Watch it below.

 



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TV Ratings: 14 Million Watched O.J. Simpson Parole Hearing


It’s no “Trial of the Century,” but it beats a stick in the eye.

A soon-to-be-free O.J. Simpson was the latest star of what’s shaping up to be a hearing-heavy year for TV.

Simpson, facing a parole board after serving nine years for armed robbery in a Nevada correctional facility, again blanketed the airwaves on Thursday afternoon — though the live tune-in was nothing like the 1995 “Trial of the Century” that ultimately saw him acquitted of murder charges. Across nine major networks carrying coverage, the relatively brief hearing brought in just shy of 14 million viewers.

CBS led the pack with an average 3.1 million viewers during the 1-to-3 p.m. ET window, while Fox News Channel topped the cable competitors with its 1.7 million viewers. ESPN, an outlier here, took a stab at live news coverage but trailed all with an audience of only 471,000.

It’s nothing compared to the handsome gross audience that tuned into former FBI director James Comey just a month and a half ago. The congressional questioning reached nearly 20 million viewers on the major news outlets alone, despite its very early (10 am ET) start time.

This Simpson coverage was significantly better than an average weekday afternoon for all networks involved. But when you consider the fact that his infamous murder trial ended with a brain-melting 150 million viewers, nearly 60 percent of the U.S. at the time, it’s pretty ho-hum.



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New 'Spawn' Movie In the Works From Todd McFarlane, Blumhouse


The comic book creator is due to make his directorial debut with the low-budget horror project.

Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions are teaming up with Todd McFarlane to develop a new movie based on the comic book icon’s creation, Spawn.

McFarlane has written the first draft of the script and is set to direct the project, marking a rare foray of a comic creator into the director’s chair.

McFarlane became a comics superstar and one of its first artists-millionaires in the 1980s thanks to his work on Amazing Spider-Man and later was one of the founding artists of Image Comics with his creation, Spawn.

Spawn told of a black ops agent who is betrayed and killed, his soul sent to Hell for all the innocents he had killed. While there, he makes a deal with a demon who allows him to return to the Earthly plane and his wife. However, five years have now past and his wife has moved while he is a disfigured and super-powered spawn of Hell.

The comic was adapted into a New Line horror action movie that starred Michael Jai White, as well as an HBO cartoon series in the late 1990s.

McFarlane, who also became an entrepreneur with a high-end toy company, has been developing the new movie for some time and was shopping it in the spring, only recently bringing it to Blumhouse. The company is envisioning the new Spawn project as a low-budget horror movie.

 



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Weekend Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Heads for $45M-$50M U.S. Debut; 'Valerian' Bombing


Elsewhere, Universal’s ‘Girls Trip’ is breaking the R-rated comedy curse with a projected $25M-plus opening.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is easily winning the Friday box-office battle for a projected $45 million-$50 million debut, marking the best opening for a World War II movie in recent times.

Dunkirk is expected to earn $17 million or more on Friday, including $5.5 million in Thursday night previews. The critically acclaimed film, from Warner Bros., is playing in 3,720 locations and is getting a wide berth in Imax theaters and on 70mm screens.

Nolan’s last film, Interstellar, debuted to nearly $50 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, including $47.5 million for the three-day weekend. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was his biggest opening ($160.9 million), followed by 2008’s The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), 2005’s Batman Begins ($73 million, including a three-day weekend of $48.7 million) and 2010’s Inception ($62.8 million).

Dunkirk, recounting one of World War II’s most famous battles, stars Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, One Direction’s Harry Styles and Aneurin Barnard. At 106 minutes, it is the shortest film of Nolan’s career, outside of his first movie. The production budget was $150 million or more, although Warners insiders insist it was notably lower.

Overseas, Dunkirk has earned $8.6 million in its first two days after beginning to roll out in select markets on Wednesday.
 
Elsewhere, Universal’s Girls Trip is laughing loudly in North America. The femme-centric pic looks to earn $11 million or more from 2,591 theaters on Friday, including $1.7 million in previews, for an opening in the $26 million range — the best showing of the year so far for an R-rated comedy, a genre that’s been decidedly challenged.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who also produced alongside Will Packer, Girls Trip stars Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as lifelong friends who go to New Orleans for a wild weekend of fun.

The news isn’t good for the weekend’s third new release, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets. The sci-fi epic, costing at least $180 million to produce, is projected to gross $7 million on Friday from 3,553 theaters and $17 million for the weekend.

From Besson’s EuropaCorp and U.S. distributor STXfilms, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevinge as a duo who must travel through space and time to save the universe. Besson’s EuropaCorp put together financing for the movie and provided marketing funds.

At that pace, Valerian won’t be able to beat holdovers Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes. Among other holdovers, Universal and Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 jumped the $200 million mark at the domestic box office on Thursday.



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'Big Bang Theory': 'Soft Kitty' "Alternate" Lyrics Revealed and 7 More Comic-Con Highlights


Stars including Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco returned to the San Diego stage for a 10th anniversary celebration.

The stars of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory returned to Comic-Con on Friday with a light-hearted panel looking back at the game-changing events of season 10, while bypassing any hints about what could be coming in the final 44 episodes in TV’s No. 1 comedy.

Returning to the San Diego stage for the show’s 10th anniversary panel were Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Kunal Nayaar (Raj) and Kevin Sussman (Stuart). They were joined by creator Bill Prady and Steve Molaro, as well as members of the show’s writing staff for a panel moderated by recurring guest stars Riki Lindhome (Ramona) and John Ross Bowie (Kripke).

Given Big Bang Theory‘s atypical writing approach — storylines are not broken in advance as producers take the creative on a week by week basis — the panel was light on details about season 11 and what would come of Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) surprise marriage proposal to Amy.

Instead, the cast and creators looked back on 10 seasons of memories and untold stories and capped the panel with what Molaro said was an “alternate” version of the show’s famous song “Soft Kitty” that was cut from season 10 when Amy was supposed to sing the full version to Sheldon. They include “Soft bunny, warm bunny, floppy ears on top/happy bunny, sleepy bunny/hop, hop hop” and “hard turtle, wet turtle, where did your head go/happy turtle, sleepy turtle/slow, slow, slow.”

 

 

Here are some other fun highlights from the panel:

• Cuoco recalled the mood on the set during Sheldon’s proposal to Amy. She noted that everyone was crowded in watching the scene — “and everyone was behind the camera, crying, during the proposal scene. To see that be this pinnacle of this season … we were all kind of crying.

• Yes, the cast changes costumes in front of each other. Nayaar noted that he’s seen Helberg squeeze into Howard’s famously tight pants more times than he’d like to admit. “He’s got a great bottom!” he joked as the cast noted that 10 seasons later, he still fits into the same skinny jeans.

• As has become common at Big Bang Comic-Con panels, Cuoco fielded this year’s question about Penny’s mysterious last name: “I have it in my head what I think that it is but now I’m Penny Hofstadter so it doesn’t matter,” she quipped. “She’s Penny, like Cher, she doesn’t need a last name.”

• Cuoco and Galecki revealed a practical joke gone bad during season six’s Valentine’s Day episode. She and Galecki planned to make it appear as if he hit Cuoco and the stunt went bad when Cuoco knocked her head on a chair after “falling” out of it. She wound up needing stitches after sitting back up and having blood gushing out from above her eyebrow. “We’re not allowed to do those jokes anymore!” she said.  

• Molaro noted that his favorite guest star on the show was the late and great Adam West, who guest starred in the 200th episode. West, who died earlier this year, had a question after the table read and asked Molaro if his Big Bang version of himself could have a tougher dog as the line in the script was him telling Leonard and Raj not to ring his doorbell or his poodles will go crazy. “I said you could but I don’t think it’s as funny and he said, ‘Well, I have poodles in real life so I think it’s fine.'”

• Writer Steve Holland revealed that he was star struck by James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher’s guest turn on the series. He noted that the duo had oddly never met in real life. “She came out and [saw him] and said, ‘Dad’!”

• Asked who they’d swap characters with, Cuoco said she’d swap with Raj’s dog, Cinnamon. “She’s spoiled!” Joked Nayyar — almost as his character — back to Cuoco: “You always get the cutest outfits!” Sussman wants to take over as Wolowitz: “I’m tired of being a third wheel!” Added Galecki: “I always thought Kevin would make a good Leonard.” Prady revealed that Lorre originally approached Galecki — with whom he worked on Roseanne — to take on the role of Sheldon but he preferred Leonard. “I wanted to be part of the Leonard and Penny love story — even before Penny was cast,” Galecki said.

Entering its 11th season, Big Bang Theory remains a ratings powerhouse, ranking as TV’s No. 1 scripted comedy in the key adults 18-49 demographic. The original stars — Galecki, Cuoco, Parsons, Nayaar and Simon Helberg (Howard) — took pay cuts to see co-stars Bialik and Melissa Rauch earn salary parity in an impressive show of support. All told, the cast still earns $900,000 an episode. CBS renewed the show for two additional seasons— 44 total episodes — in which sources say is likely to be the show’s endgame. (No formal announcement has been made.) CBS next will look to Lorre and Molaro to launch 1980s-set spinoff Young Sheldon, starring Iain Armitage as the 9-year-old genius. Parsons narrates the comedy and exec produces as well. In another example of the close-knit kinship of the Big Bang family, Zoe Perry takes on the role of Sheldon’s mother, stepping into the part originated by her mother and Big Bang Emmy winner Laurie Metcalfe. The spinoff recently booked Annie Potts as a series regular, taking on the role of Sheldon’s beloved Meemaw.

Season 11 premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. on CBS before moving to Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.

 

 



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