On September 23, How I Met Your Mother opens the book on its final chapter -- the one that not only introduces the long-awaited titular mother, but should finally see Robin make an honest man out of Barney. In fact, the whole of season nine takes place over their long wedding weekend, but as Cobie Smulders told me, various time-jumps ensure the cast gets to wear more than one costume this year.
So what is the in-demand actress (she's not only set to start filming The Avengers: Age of Ultron this February, but also cameos in ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot) most excited to see transpire in the final season? That was one of the first things I asked Smulders when we sat down to talk all about How I Met Your Mother!
ETonline: The last time I saw you was right before How I Met Your Mother's first Comic Con panel. How was that experience?
Cobie Smulders: I got very emotional when I first came out because I thought there would be 30 people in the audience. And then I walked out. It's like a sonic wave that hit me. The sound is physical; it smacked me in the face. I was really excited to meet the fans and try to give back in some way because I've had a job for freaking eight years, and that's unheard of in this industry. It was an awesome celebration.
ETonline: What are you excited for fans to see in the final season?
Smulders: I'm excited for them to see this wedding take place. I'm excited for them to see how Cristin [Milioti] will be worked into our show. So far it's been quite brilliant in how she meets all the characters. You really see her personality and all the attributes that Ted will eventually fall in love with. I thought this show would end with Ted seeing a woman across the room and the voiceover saying "Kids, that's how I met your mother," and then it would be over. For some reason that's what I always assumed. This is so much better. I love that we're playing it out and seeing her interactions with us, which all leads up to the scene where Ted meets her. The way we play with the timeline this season is genius -- we not only flash back, but flash forward a lot this year, so it's great.
ETonline: Are you glad that Robin ended up with Barney versus Ted?
Smulders: You know, that's a question I have trouble answering because I don't want it to sound like I like Barney better, or I like Neil [Patrick Harris] better. I mean, we've shot so many episodes, that I sometimes forget Robin simply isn't in love with Ted. He's the perfect guy, who is so kind and considerate, and I'm sure Robin wishes she loved Ted. I mean, that's the safer bet. He's safe and reliable, but she just doesn't love him.
ETonline: What are you personally excited to see in the final season?
Smulders: I want to see these last two slaps happen and I want to see the wedding. I also want to meet Robin's mother.
ETonline: Who would you like to play her?
Smulders: I pitched Annette Bening. The producers joked they tried for Madonna.
ETonline: So we're going to be denied the Madonna/Robin Sparkles duet we never knew we always wanted?
Smulders: Sadly, yes. I think that's what they were trying to make happen. Alas.
ETonline: When you look at How I Met Your Mother, what is it you hope fans take away from the show when all is said and done?
Smulders: It's so hard to answer because we've been on the air for so long. I feel like the great thing about our show is there have been so many moments that have already made an impact. It's a funny thing, and don't even feel comfortable saying this, but when I think about our show ending, I think of Friends. You got to see those people grow and change and I know how that impacted me. To go through things, as Robin, that people can relate to has been the greatest gift.
How I Met Your Mother premieres September 23 at 8 p.m. on CBS.