How I Met Your Father's Shocking [SPOILER] Appearance In Season 2 Premiere, Explained By The Showrunners

 Hilary Duff on How I Met Your Father.
Hilary Duff on How I Met Your Father.

Spoilers for How I Met Your Father’s Season 2 premiere ahead.

It was a brief moment, but an exciting one nonetheless, as Neil Patrick Harris made a legendary, and shocking, return to the How I Met Your [insert significant other] universe as Barney Stinson. As the second season of How I Met Your Father gets going, it sounds like this small appearance from the legendary character will not be his only one, as the show’s creators recently broke down his cameo and NPH’s future on the Hulu spinoff.

The show's creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger broke down the shocking final minutes of the episode when Sophie reveals that she thinks she’s dating her dad, and then gets into a fender bender with Barney with TV Line. It’s been made clear by the creators that they want to bring back HIMYM characters, and they also have specific goals for when they ask an OG actor to come back to the universe, Aptaker explained their reasoning and the big cameo:

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, 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.

It will be so fun to see how Barney fits into the greater How I Met Your Father story. I’m sure he’ll bring all the fun jokes and shenanigans back, however, it’s also clear that the more problematic aspects of the character have been left in the past.

When it came to bringing Barney back, Berger explained that they did talk about how the character’s actions on HIMYM would not fly these days. She said that was something they talked about with Harris, and they ultimately were able to bring back his character in a faithful way, while leaving some of his “antics” -- as Harris called his character’s questionable actions according to TV Line -- in the past.

Also, while we don’t know much about Barney’s storyline just yet, one thing we know for certain is he’s not Sophie’s dad. The creators were quick to rule that out as an option, partially because Harris' character would have been a teen when Hilary Duff’s character was born. However, they really didn’t reveal much else about how Harris’ character fits into Sophie’s world. Although, Aptaker did tease:

We’ll have to wait and see. That car crash becomes a major turning point in Sophie’s life and in her season-long arc. Once we catch up to that, I think people will be pleasantly surprised by how her story turns via Barney.

So, unlike Cobie Smulders’ brief cameo, it sounds like Harris is joining the How I Met Your Father cast for a bit longer than one episode, which is very exciting. Along with Smulders and Harris, Josh Radnor also said he's willing to return if asked, so now all we’d need is Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, and we could have the whole gang back together. Hopefully, this all happens someday, but for now, we luckily will get more of Barney Stinson as new episodes of HIMYF drop every Tuesday according to the 2023 TV schedule, and all you need to tune in is a Hulu subscription.