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Bazinga! 'Big Bang' writers hit Comic-Con as cast remains without contracts for season 8

This image released by CBS shows Jim Parsons in a scene from

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This image released by CBS shows Jim Parsons in a scene from "The Big Bang Theory." (AP Photo/CBS, Michael Yarish)

SAN DIEGO - Past "Big Bang" Comic-Con panels have paid off for fans that score tickets. One viewer was awarded a trip to space. And there was a surprise appearance by Johnny Galecki, who hid in the audience in costume until he asked a question.

For the second year in a row, the writers and executive producers represented the long-running CBS comedy. Stars Jim Parsons, Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are without contracts for season 8. (Last week, CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that she was confident it would be worked out.)

Friday's session kicked off with a performance by folk duo Garfunkel and Oates, who sang a fresh take on a song from the series that Helberg's character performed on the show. They changed the lyrics to include, "We couldn't have imagined we'd get to sing this song for 'The Big Bang Theory' fans at Comic-Con."

A mock trailer was shown for "Serial Ape-ist 2, Monkey See, Monkey Kill," a low-budget horror film mentioned on the show that was to star Wil Wheaton and Cuoco's Penny. (Wheaton plays himself in a recurring role on the comedy.)

After the trailer, Wheaton surprised the audience by walking onstage and joining the panel.

The writers dodged any real spoiler-like questions (such as whether characters Sheldon and Amy will ever be intimate), but here are some highlights:

—Penny and Leonard's (Cuoco and Galecki) wedding won't happen anytime soon. "They are engaged but the wedding is sometime off in the future. They're not in a rush," said show runner Steve Molaro, who also said there are "no plans for any babies at any point."

— Penny will continue to not have a last name. "At this point we've come so far it's a bit of a superstition for us. Wait until we have to wrestle if and when (she and Leonard) get married, how they get around that point," said Molaro.

—The comic-book store that burned down in the seventh season will return. "There will be a comic-book store in the future," Molaro said. "The show will not go on without a comic-book store."

—That darn elevator in the apartment building won't get fixed. It remains a functional element for the writers. "What the stairwell gave us was a place to have walk-and-talk conversations that was organic," said co-creator Bill Prady.

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Online:

http://www.cbs.com/BigBang

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