The Big Bang Theory's original 'second' pilot unseen by fans was 'darker'

Ashley Bautista September 24, 2022
The Big Bang Theory's original 'second' pilot unseen by fans was 'darker'
Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images


The Big Bang Theory is still a cult classic, loved by millions across the world – but did you know there was a second pilot fans have never seen?

After 12 seasons and 279 episodes, it’s hard to imagine different actors interpreting the iconic Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Penny, Howard Wolowitz, and Raj Koothrappali. However, things might have gone down a different route.

Celebrating 15 years since the first episode aired (and began a revolution), here are five different ways The Big Bang Theory could’ve been completely different.

Could you imagine the show with a different Sheldon and without Penny? Or even consider a ‘darker’ feel to it, if fans ever got their hands on the unseen Big Bang Theory second pilot. Keep reading to find out more.

Johnny Galecki as Sheldon Cooper

Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

Johnny Galecki as Sheldon? Well, that almost happened. According to January Media, the actor was the first star approached to interpret the role of Sheldon Cooper. However, the actor saw a better fit for playing Leonard Hofstadter instead, and the rest is history.

It’s mind-blowing to think Johnny would reject to play such an iconic character in the first place. However, the actor told Variety he wanted a different role than just being “the best friend or the gay assistant”.

Galecki is said to have seen interest in the Leonard-Penny relationship, which ended up becoming the show’s main focus.

Another Big Bang Theory pilot episode that never aired

Before The Big Bag Theory released its first episode on September 24, 2006, the show had made two different pilots. According to January Media, the first pilot for the 2006-2007 season never aired. It also had a different structure than the original the show, writes Screen Rant.

Surprisingly, only Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons were in the cast alongside Amanda Walsh.

Even the show’s original theme music was different, using Thomas Dolby’s hit, She Blinded Me With Science.

Two other female characters pre-Penny

Kaley Cuoco became an iconic and beloved cast member for her time as Penny.

As per the original pilot, a character named Katie replaced the Penny that we know and love. Her character was dark, brooding, and unhappy”. Thinking of Penny’s outgoing and comedic personality, it’s hard to imagine anything better for Kaley.

However, the 36-year-old actress didn’t get the part. Amanda Walsh instead became Katie and a year later, Cuoco debuted as Penny.

The second female character was Gilda, interpreted by Iris Bahr. She was reportedly supposed to be a close friend of the male characters.

Bernadette’s voice

Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic

Bernadette went under a major change that fans may have missed, and it was to do with her voice. Known to have a deep voice, her character saw a change throughout the seasons. Unless you binge-watch the old episodes, you may forget how she sounded at the beginning.

As the episodes aired, Bernadette’s voice became much more faster and high-pitched. In an interview with The Rubin Report, the actress confessed that Bernadette’s voice was inspired by her mother.

“Except without the Jersey accent,” she said.

Wil Wheaton almost turned down his role

During its 12 seasons, the series has seen actors and IRL scientists take on roles as themselves. As per Metro, Wil Wheaton almost declined his offer, and it was all down to a confusing email address from Bill Prady’s assistant.

“I didn’t recognize her email address, so I actually thought it was a friend of mine playing a prank on me,” he confessed.

“10 years ago, I thought there was no way anybody in The Big Bang Theory is remotely interested in me. This has got to be a joke.”

Although, the actor was not interested in playing himself. However, the show completed some tweaks and penned Wil as a “delightfully evil version of yourself”. Without the need to think over the decision twice, he agreed.

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Ashley is a journalism graduate from Kingston University, currently writing for HITC, Reality Titbit and The Focus. She loves to travel and learn new languages and cultures. She also has an interest in celebrity news and the entertainment world. When she’s not writing, she’s on social media, watching K-dramas or shopping.