The executive producers for The Big Bang Theory have shot down a famous fan theory that had seemingly confirmed a major character’s true last name.
The surname of Kaley Cuoco‘s Penny was a longstanding question for fans of The Big Bang Theory, as it was never revealed by the end of the popular CBS sitcom’s 12-season run. One prominent theory came from a scene in Season 2’s “The Work Song Nanocluster.” In the scene, Penny was holding a box with the name “Penny Teller” written on the shipping label, leading many fans to believe this to be an intentional Easter egg to disclose her last name. In reality, as reported by TVLine, this label was never even meant to be seen by audiences. “Props had to put a label on it and it happened to be caught on camera,” series executive producer Steve Molaro explained in The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series. “We didn’t sanction it, we didn’t write it, and we didn’t intentionally put it there… Her last name Teller is absolutely not canon.”
Prop master Scott London went on to explain that “Teller” was only included on the package because he “had to put a last name on the label” and it was series co-creator Bill Prady’s idea to include a Penn & Teller reference. “I had assurances it wasn’t going to be seen, that Scott [London] just needed it for the visual shape of the block of type,” Prady added. “But, emphatically, Penny’s last name is not Teller. I don’t know how that image of the shipping label exists and fans were able to see it and make it out.”
An Unresolved Big Bang Theory Mystery
The case of Penny’s last name remained unresolved by the time the series finale, called “The Stockholm Syndrome,” was released in 2019. Fans hoping to see this question one day be answered in a Big Bang Theory resurrection might be waiting for a long while: Prady recently announced that he and co-creator Chuck Lorre are doubtful to return to the show due to the “beautiful and satisfying” finale.
While the sitcom is over, it lives on through its spinoff prequel series Young Sheldon. As for Cuoco, the actor was recently nominated for her third Emmy Award for her work on the HBO Max series The Flight Attendant. In addition, Cuoco also stars in and executive produces the streaming service animated series Harley Quinn, which has recently revealed an upcoming Valentine’s Day special is coming soon.
The Big Bang Theory is available to stream now on HBO Max and on Netflix.