CBS’ The Big Bang Theory got a huge boost from fans at Comic-Con today, as thousands of Sheldon and Leonard converts packed a ballroom to hear whether the actors are as smart as their small-screen counterparts (no) and whether the dense mathematical problems featured on the show are accurate (yes). “We have a consultant who is a professor of astrophysics at UCLA. He answers all the criticism,” explained executive producer Chuck Lorre, who was joined on the panel by fellow EP Billy Prady and stars Johnny Galecki (Leonard, pictured left), Jim Parsons (Sheldon, pictured right), Kaley Cuoco (Penny, pictured center), Simon Helberg (Howard), and Kunal Nayyar (Rajnesh).

The producers then regaled the crowd with a little Big Bang trivia: the literary archetype for Helberg’s Howard is Pepe Le Pew, and they actually shot two Big Bang pilots, because the first one from two and a half years ago “really sucked” (no, Lorre’s not sure whether it’ll show up as an extra someday on the Big Bang DVD). And despite conventional wisdom about Sheldon, Prady never meant Parsons’ socially-awkward character to suffer from Asperger’s syndrome. “We don’t think his mom ever took him in for a diagnosis,” says Prady.

The panel saved the best news for last, though: Sara Gilbert, who recurred as the brainy Leslie Winkle last season, will return for several more episodes beginning this fall.

addCredit(“Big Bang Theory: Cliff Lipson”)