This post was updated July 1 at 2:00 p.m.
New sets will arrive with a bang on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood.
Beginning June 28, “The Big Bang Theory” stage, “Stage 25,” joined the company’s studio tour, allowing fans to experience backdrops like Apartment 4A and the California Institute of Technology Physics Department cafeteria.
Before the official opening of the “The Big Bang Theory” sets, a Q&A panel including cast members Wil Wheaton and Brian Thomas Smith alongside the show’s writer, creator and producers took place. The panel was a heartwarming reflection for the cast and producers as they answered questions about the show and reminisced about its final moments, said Steven Molaro, the show’s co-producer and writer.
“It was (an) emotional night last night. We shot our final episode of “Big Bang Theory” and as I was leaving, I took three pictures of my hand,” Molaro said. “The last one was on the plaque (of Stage 25), and I still get emotional thinking about it.”
The show created history on the Warner Bros. Studio lot as the country’s longest-running sitcom, spanned 12 seasons. And while the panel was filled with bittersweet nostalgia, co-producer and writer Steve Holland said it is touching to know the show has gained a large enough following that fans would want to visit and enjoy the sets. Ultimately, in preserving the sets, he said it’s as if the show never ended.
“It feels great to know that the people care enough they’re going to want to come to visit it, but also that we (the cast and crew) can stop by and visit it from time to time, too,” Holland said.
And although it has been hard for the cast to say goodbye, the set’s new role as a part of the tours will allow “The Big Bang Theory” to live on, allowing fans to experience the most prominent backdrops of the sitcom, such as Apartment 4A and the Caltech Physics Department cafeteria.
However, out of all the sets featured, Holland said he predicts that Sheldon’s seat on the brown leather couch will likely be the most visited spot on the tour.
“Everyone gets so excited to sit in Sheldon’s spot,” Holland said. “It’s been so sacred for so long, and now that everyone is going to be able to experience it, it’s going to be a well-worn spot.”
The overall condition of Apartment 4A remains pristine and kept exactly as one would see it on screen. From the books on the shelf to the mathematical formulas scribbled on whiteboards and even the Chinese takeout boxes on the coffee table, even the smallest details are in their rightful places.
Sitting directly opposite to Apartment 4A is Caltech’s cafeteria, which, although instantly familiar, was slightly underwhelming. The colors were not as vibrant in person and was small compared to what was featured on TV. Usually a friendly atmosphere on screen, the set was somewhat dull and less likely to capture the attention of attendees. Many attendees headed straight to Apartment 4A and Sheldon’s spot on the couch.
But perhaps the quirkiest set featured on the new studio tour is the elevator of the Pasadena apartment complex. Although this elevator was broken throughout the show’s entirety, it was the highlight of the Q&A, as Holland spent some time providing guests with stories of how actors would leave their chewing gum behind the elevator on the wall before entering set.
“In the hallway where the elevator is the bottom of the stairs, all the actors would stick their gum before this thing was started,” Holland said. “I’m not sure if they ever got preserved.”
The gum, unfortunately, did not make it into the studio tour. But what was obviously treasured throughout the evening was the love for the show shared between the cast, crew and fan base. And for a show whose creator and producer were terrified to go to their first Comic-Con in San Diego because they were afraid they would be facing an empty room, Chuck Lorre said everyone involved in the creation of “The Big Bang Theory” can relax knowing the history and culture of the show is not coming to an end quite yet.
“To know that the show has a life beyond our efforts is a terrific feeling,” Lorre said. “And it feels special … it’s quite a humbling experience.”