Despite its success, The Big Bang Theory could've looked very different. In fact, the likes of Kaley Cuoco initially weren't cast to the show, and neither was the Penny character. Things ultimately fell into place organically, however, there were no guarantees of success at the start. As the show went along, it started to develop an identity and from then on, it hit a life of its own, gaining massive traction for CBS.
Along the way, the many guest-stars aided the show's cause. In the following, we're going to take a look at a popular recurring guest-star, and how he initially rejected the show. The actor wasn't keen on playing his real-life self, however, things would change once he finally saw the show.
Although the actor wound up playing his real-life self, it wasn't exactly who he is. He put a twist to the role, and clearly, it all worked out.
Thanks to a tweet praising The Big Bang Theory, Wil Wheaton was contacted by those behind the scenes on the show. At first, Wheaton turned down the series - but his perception changed once the show started. It resulted in his debut during season 3, and he became a recurring character throughout the show.
Wheaton had one concern entering and that was the fact that he had to play himself. Nonetheless, Wheaton ended up putting spin on his real-life self. According to the actor alongside TV Insider, he was playing a version of himself had he never met his wife.
He reveals, "The first choice that I made as an actor was that the version of Wil Wheaton, who appears in TBBT universe, isn't married, which immediately took me out of my head and my comfort zone to where I could think [of me] as a different character. He is who I would be if I'd never met my wife."
Fans can all agree that version was perfect for the show, especially given his rivalry with Sheldon. However, at the start of negotiations, it seemed very unlikely that Wil would join the show.
Author Jessica Radloff did a great job in her behind the scenes book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series. The author was able to get so much behind the scenes' information, and that included what went on with the secondary characters on the show. Among them, was Wil Wheaton, and how he had no desire to play himself at the start of negotiations.
Radloff reveals with Solzy at the Movies, "Wil Wheaton did not want to play himself on the show. He didn't have the best view of the show when he first heard about it because he thought it was going to be a show making fun of so-called nerds and he wasn't into that, rightfully so."
Of course, Wheaton would reconsider, and his tweet about the series changed everything.
Jessica goes on to reveal that another major changing point took place when Wheaton put his own take on the character, similar to what other guest-stars did.
"Yes, it is Wil Wheaton but it's not Wil Wheaton. In some way, it's not exactly Mark Hamill even though it was probably closer to Mark Hamill than Wil Wheaton's evil Wil Wheaton on the show but you understand why people are concerned. They think no, I want to play somebody else."
In the end, it all worked out for both sides.
Looking back, Wheaton always worried that his stint on The Big Bang Theory would be short-lived. Finally, towards the end of the sitcom, the actor realized he was in it for the long-run, alongside the cast.
Wheaton had a career-changing experience alongside Chuck Lorre and the others. It was an experience he'll never forget.
"Gosh, it has meant so much. It's been such an incredible gift to work with these magnificent actors, this phenomenal writing staff, and just the most amazing and professional crew with which I've ever worked," Wil tells TV Insider.
"We could spend our entire careers hoping to have one experience like I have working on TBBT. I've gotten to have that also with Star Trek: The Next Generation and Leverage and Eureka and The Guild. I am really grateful that I've gotten to do good work that the audience loves with people that I love. I'm really proud to have that in my legacy."
Wheaton continues on with his career since the show came to an end, appearing on an episode of Star Trek: Picard, along with two episodes of Bridgewater most recently.