Throughout its 12-year tenure at CBS, The Big Bang Theory was well known for featuring surprise cameos. Even with these unexpected star turns, however, there was always a sense of method-to-the-madness, in terms of which celebrities were invited to be a small part of the franchise.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar featured briefly in the series finale, reportedly at the expense of a reboot of the popular supernatural drama from the late 1990s. Buffy had been a very common reference throughout the show.
The sentimental pull of The Big Bang Theory was a strong one for most celebrities, which often made it easy for them to say yes when asked to be on the sitcom. For instance, Billy Bob Thornton reportedly agreed to feature on the show because it was his mom’s favorite.
Another famous cameo on Big Bang was by Castle and Firefly actor Nathan Fillion. As was the case with Buffy, there had always been constant references made to Firefly in the Chuck Lorre sitcom. A love for and familiarity with the show would have likely played a role in convincing the actor to take up a short, but memorable part in Season 8.
Nathan Fillion’s Captain Reynolds Is An Idol-Figure For Regular ‘Big Bang’ Characters
Nathan Fillion has been a professional actor since 1993. He is mostly associated with the role of Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the 2002 TV series Firefly. In episode 15 of Season 8 on Big Bang, Fillion appears as a lonely customer at a deli.
Regular characters Rajesh Koothrappali and Leonard Hofstadter become evidently star-struck when they spot him. Raj, Leonard and their friend Sheldon Cooper are often making reference to the nerdy science fiction series Firefly; Captain Reynolds is therefore a kind of idol-figure in the three eccentric scientists’ lives. Sheldon was particularly vocal with his frustration over Firefly’s premature death, given that the series was actually canceled after just one season.
Fillion is generally adored in Sci-Fi film and TV circles, which is why his cameo on Big Bang felt natural and memorable for the audience. His random encounter with Raj and Leonard elicited fond memories amongst fans, with some even hoping that Firefly might have found a renewed chance of being rebooted.
Fillion Originally Denies His Identity In The ‘Big Bang’ Episode
In the Big Bang episode titled The Comic Book Store Regeneration, Raj asks Fillion if it really is him – star of Firefly – live and in the flesh. The seemingly aloof actor denies that he is. The disappointed duo then leaves the so-thought captain Reynolds alone for a while.
After they have taken their order, however, they approach him once more before leaving the deli. Leonard apologizes again for the apparent mix-up, but then Raj asks if he really isn’t Nathan Fillion. He seeks to appease the rather uneasy actor by saying that just like his character in Firefly, they are actually scientists, and not ‘some crazy fan boys.’ To get rid of the pesky nerds, Fillion takes off his cap and eventually owns up to his identity, even offering to take a photo with them.
Somewhat out of the blue, though, Raj starts to express doubts on whether the lonesome customer is indeed the real Nathan Fillion. When asked whether he wants the photo or not, Raj retorts: “I want a picture with Nathan Fillion!”
Fillion’s ‘Big Bang’ Theory Cameo Had Been Greatly Anticipated By Fans
In the end, the argument dies out and the three take a selfie, with Fillion looking particularly unimpressed. This marked the end of what had been a greatly anticipated cameo from the actor by Sci-Fi and Big Bang aficionados. When the news was first announced in 2015 that Fillion was set to feature, fans took to Reddit with all kinds of ideas for what the cameo should entail.
Fillion had famously worked with TBBT star Simon Helberg in Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog back in 2008. The three-part film follows the wannabe, titular super villain – portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris – who comes up against a superhero by the moniker Captain Hammer, a role that was played by Fillion himself.
Helberg – best known on Big Bang as Howard Wolowitz – stepped into the shoes of Moist, a sidekick of Dr. Horrible. Fans had therefore hoped to see a reunion between Fillion and Helberg. ‘The only thing I require is for Nathan to look at Howard and say, “You look horribly familiar.”,’ one fan wrote.
Although they never got to see this dream fulfilled in the end, Fillion’s cameo will nonetheless remain to be one of the most classic on the show.
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