The following are spoilers from the Season 2 premiere of How I Met Your Father.
Cobie Smulders' return as Robin Scherbatsky was the greatest surprise from How I Met Your Father.
Neil Patrick Harris, who will reprise his Emmy-nominated role as Barney Stinson in Season 2 of Hulu's sequel series, made his first appearance (keyword being first).
Future Sophie begins to talk about her "rock bottom" and then we reverse our stance and discover 30-year-old Sophie driving through the suburbs, desperately trying to contact Lori. "Mom, please call me back!" she responds.
Sophie gets into a collision, and she goes out to assess the damage, and we discover that Barney owns the vehicle she dragged off the back of his Audi (whose license plate reads "LGNDRY"), for the time being.
Harris' return is being kept under wraps, but we can confirm that the appearance by NPH was only an introduction, and we'll see more of Barney at some point during HIMYF's massive second season of 20 episodes.
Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the creators of HIMYF, discuss Harris' return to the franchise, rule out a possible connection between the two shows, and suggest that another upcoming guest star may be to blame for Barney and Sophie's fate.
NPH's comeback was long overdue. BERGER | We all became interested in having him return as soon as we began breaking our seasons. She was able to get a very quick, "Let's talk about it." APTAKER | She officiated his wedding! He has a little bit of a previous relationship with Hilary Duff, who did an interview with him for his newsletter Wondercade. It was wonderful to see them develop a television series.
NPH said that the Barnacle's "antics" would not work in the #MeToo era, and that HIMYF would be better off without him. BERGER | Yes. We wanted him to return on our program, in his time, in a way that made sense. So all of that Zoom was spent talking about how we could serve him and the show in the best way possible.
TVLINE | We know from How I Met Your Mother that Barney was born in 1975, which implies that he would have been 17 years old when Sophie was born in 1992. Can we proceed and rule him out as Sophie's father? APTAKER | I think so. Given Lori's age, that'd be a pretty uncomfortable conclusion.
TVLINE | Hey, you never know! You might have rewritten a few sentences and attributed Ted to being an unreliable narrator. BERGER | True!
After the HIMYM finale, Barney is already divorced from Robin and his father to Ellie. What you want to know is how they reintroduce one of our protagonists in a fresh, unexpected direction.
Sophie's sudden interest in older men leads her to Barney, although the way that it does, I think, is quite unexpected.
APTAKER | How long will it take before we see Barney again? I think people will be surprised by how Sophie's story unfolds through Barney.