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When The Big Bang Theory kicked off Season 11 by revealing Amy's all-important answer to Sheldon's wedding proposal, the show brought back one of its more popular guest stars in genius physicist Stephen Hawking, who offered some key advice to Jim Parsons' comic-lover. And now, the show has confirmed that another fan favorite will be back later this season, as we'll get to once again meet up with comedy legend Bob Newhart as Arthur "Professor Proton" Jeffries. Put your labcoats on.
Okay, so we won't actually get to see the real Professor Proton, as it were, but rather Sheldon's mental manifestation of Bob Newhart as the former host of his childhood favorite science-y TV series. As fans know, Professor Proton actually died back in Season 7's "The Proton Transmogrification," but he's the one character on this show who has been able to live on after death, though it's through Sheldon's imagination and subconscious. (Which is almost more frightening than death, amirite?)
As EW confirms, Bob Newhart will return for the November 2 episode, which is the first night where The Big Bang Theory will shift over to CBS' Thursday night lineup, following the completion of the network's Thursday Night Football run. And he'll indeed be back as an apparition within one of Sheldon's dreams, offering advice on whatever distressing situation that's come up. Will it have something to do with Sheldon and Amy's impending nuptials? That would be a perfect time to do another callback to The Bob Newhart Show, in which the comedian played a married psychologist. Of course, if he's still in his Jedi robe, it might have something to do with the problems that the Star Wars films have experienced recently.
This will be the fifth official Big Bang Theory appearance from Bob Newhart, who first showed up in Season 6 for "The Proton Displacement." He won an Primetime Emmy for that guest spot, and was nominated for two successive performances. His last appearance was in Season 9, but interestingly (and understandably) enough, Bob Newhart's Professor Proton also got to make a cameo appearance in the Big Bang prequel series Young Sheldon, which was as fantastic as any other bit of connective tissue between the shows. And that follow-up series returns for its official fall debut on November 2, the very night Newhart will return to The Big Bang Theory, so here's hoping for some more easter eggs on that front.
Bob Newhart won't be the only familiar face we get to see in that episode, either. Another regular guest star and sci-fi familiar, Wil Wheaton, will again play himself on the show, though a somewhat heightened version that serves as Sheldon's quasi-nemesis. Perhaps it'll be an issue with Wil that will cause Professor Proton to reappear in Sheldon's dreams, and possibly as a Starfleet captain, since Wheaton was famously on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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The Big Bang Theory airs Monday nights on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET, but don't forget about that switch to Thursdays on November 2, when we'll get to see Bob Newhart return. And head to our fall premiere schedule to see when all the other new and returning shows will hit our small screens.