Coincidentally, it’s the first time the show has had a panel at the Con. Keep reading for a recap of the event, featuring an exclusive look at the upcoming season and the fans’ questions for cast members Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alyson Hannigan, co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, and director Pamela Fryman (who’s helmed all but 11 of the show’s nearly 200 episodes).
The panel, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Sandra Gonzalez, was an emotional and raucous send off from fans who chanted the show’s many catchphrases while waiting for the panelists to take the stage. After a humorous intro video imagining how Ted’s future kids would actually resent him for forcing them to sit on a couch for eight years, the conversation turned to the show’s ninth and final season, and allowed the cast and creators to reflect on its award-winning run as the pre-eminent multi-cam sitcom of its generation.
Here are a few of the How I Met Your Mother highlights:
The audience will (maybe) meet the mother before Ted does
– Josh Radnor was excited by the chance to work with Cristin Milioti, who plays the long-awaited mother of the show’s title. However, Bays hinted that the show would delve into her backstory for several episodes before the couple actually meets.
Not all of season nine takes place at Barney and Robin’s wedding
– Not in the literal sense, anyway, as Bays and Thomas promised plenty of the show’s trademark flashbacks and even a few flash-forwards. Bays also teased a long list of returning guest stars, confirming Sherri Shepherd and Wayne Brady.
Elaborate plans for the conclusion of the slap bet
– Thanks to an unorthodox wager in an earlier season, Marshall still has two unannounced slaps left for Barney. The last season will feature a third edition of the face-stinging holiday “Slapsgiving,” and Thomas mentioned that one episode will take place as a series of flashbacks during the course of a single slap.
They’re sorry for dragging things out
– Bays and Thomas noted that the original plan was to introduce the mother in the show’s concluding frames. That would’ve been a polarizing decision to say the least, and now Bays feels that both the characters and the audience have earned the right to experience more of Ted’s happiness.
HIMYM is ultimately an “affirmation of optimism”
While the show’s conceit guarantees a happy ending, everyone was proud of the how they maintained a sense of drama through the simple ebb and flow of the characters’ everyday lives. Bays was flattered by the consensus that his show is “the one that cheers you up” and affirms how friendship gets us through difficult times.
Spend one last season with all your friends when “How I Met Your Mother” returns to CBS on September 23