This post has spoilers from the season 2 premiere of How I Met Your Father.
Suit up! Barney is back and it's legendary.
Neil Patrick Harris' beloved character was introduced in the original CBS series How I Met Your Mother about a hopeless romantic telling his children the long-winded love story about their mother while navigating adulthood in N.Y.C with his four best friends, including Harris' Barney Stinson, a confident player with catchy one-liners. The cast also included Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders, with narration from late actor Bob Saget.
In the episode, Sophie — played by leading lady Hilary Duff — calls her mom with concerns that she's dating her father, leading her to crash into a vehicle once the call ends. The car, viewers promptly find out, belongs to none other than Barney, who exits and exclaims, "Dude!" — one of the character's sayings in the original series.
This is only the beginning of Harris' introduction to the show, however, as creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger say audiences will be seeing more of him as season 2 continues.
The creators told TV Line Barney will have a "major impact" on the season's storyline, while also showing fans where he is at in his life today.
"Whenever we talk about bringing back a member of the original crew, you want it to serve two purposes: You want to give some tidbits about what is going on in their lives, where they've landed and where they're at," Aptaker told the news outlet. "But it's also about how they impact the How I Met Your Father story, and how they send one of our characters in a new, unexpected direction. Similar to Robin last year, we'll learn some more about where Barney's at, but it'll also have a major impact on the trajectory, and main narrative, of our season."
HIMYM left Barney divorced from Robin Scherbatsky (Smulders) and a dad to Ellie. While some fans have speculated that Barney could be Sophie's mysterious father, the creators shut this rumor down, as the age difference wouldn't have added up with the original plot line.
"We're not telling a teen dad story," Aptaker told TV Line. "I think given Lori's age, that'd become a pretty uncomfortable story."
Though Harris was happy to follow suit of Smulders — who reprised the role of Robin in the first season of HIMYF — he and the creators first had Zoom discussions on how to bring back Barney in a way that would be authentic to the character but also appropriate in the #MeToo era. (His character previously drew criticism for his problematic dealings with women.)
"We wanted to bring him back, and we wanted him to be true to his character and to the fans that loved Barney so much," Berger said in the interview. "But we also wanted him to exist on our show, in our time, in a way that made sense, so all of that Zoom was spent talking about how we could blend all those things and service him and the show in the best way possible."
While it has yet to be revealed how many of the season's 20 episodes Barney will appear in, the creators promise that people will be "pleasantly surprised" with how Sophie and Barney's storyline will end up intertwining.
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New episodes of How I Met Your Father air Tuesdays on Hulu.