How I Met Your Father season 1 brings back a few familiar faces from How I Met Your Mother for cameos, including Cobie Smulders' Robin Scherbatsky.
Hulu’s How I Met Your Father season 1 sees the return of several beloved characters from How I Met Your Mother. Set nearly a decade after Ted finally meets Tracy, How I Met Your Father follows Sophie (Hilary Duff) as tells her son the story of how she met his father. Repeating the narration from the future protagonist and tales of many romantic misadventures, How I Met Your Father’s modern tale recaptures the spirit of HIMYM beyond just its core storytelling device.
While the spinoff series initially seemed to be a simple remake, How I Met Your Father quickly established itself within the same universe and was closely connected to the original. How I Met Your Father’s season 1 premiere revealed that best friends Jesse (Chris Lowell) and Sid (Suraj Sharma) are now living in Ted, Marshall, and Lily’s old HIMYM apartment, which is situated directly above the familiar MacLaren’s Pub. However, Jesse, Sid, Sophie, Valentina, Charlie, and Ellen hang out at another bar that Sid owns. As these subtle connections continued to grow stronger in How I Met Your Father season 1, the last two episodes directly linked the two series with several HIMYM character cameos.
How I Met Your Father season 1 sees the return of four original How I Met Your Mother characters, including one of the main five figures. Playing to the nostalgia of HIMYM and solving certain mysteries left over from the original series, How I Met Your Father’s cameos were a deserved and organic way to bring Sophie’s and Ted’s stories together. As heartwarming as the four cameos in How I Met Your Father season 1 were, they also open up the door for more HIMYM characters and actors to return in future seasons.
Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders)
HIMYF Robin Cameo
Although audiences expected a cameo from a recurring How I Met Your Mother character, the How I Met Your Father season 1 finale featured the surprising return of Robin Scherbatsky. One of the five main characters and Ted’s endgame romantic interest, Robin had a fairly controversial ending in HIMYM, making her the best character to appear in the spinoff and redeem her story. The end of HIMYM’s timeline saw her married to Barney after Ted had finally let her go, but the finale’s flash-forwards revealed that she and Barney were divorced and Robin realized she was still in love with Ted. After focusing on her highly successful journalism career, Ted and Robin finally ended up together in the year 2030, with their reunion occurring shortly after he finished telling his kids the title story.
Robin’s return directly addressed her divisive ending with Ted, as How I Met Your Father’s 2022 timeline saw the character at a time when Ted was still with Tracy and Robin had distanced herself from the group. When Sophie met the famous Robin Scherbatsky at MacLaren’s Pub, Robin related her fears of being with the love-searching Ted to Sophie’s fears of Jesse moving too fast in their new relationship, as Robin was now left with the only option to love Ted from afar. Robin’s How I Met Your Father cameo also revealed that she secretly longed for the old days with Lily, Marshall, Ted, and Barney in the bar during this timeline, which differs from how Ted remembered her distance. Cobie Smulders’ return to HIMYM’s universe was highly unexpected, but ended up serving a larger purpose for the stories of both Robin and Sophie.
The Captain (Kyle MacLachlan)
The Captain in HIMYF
The first major HIMYM character cameo in How I Met Your Father came from George “The Captain” Van Smoot. The Captain was introduced in How I Met Your Mother season 6 as the wealthy, nautically-obsessed husband of Zoey, Ted’s arch-nemesis-turned-girlfriend. After Zoey and The Captain were divorced and she subsequently dated Ted, HIMYM's The Captain actually became a far better received and prominent recurring figure. Kyle MacLachlan’s character would later return to hire How I Met Your Mother's Lily Aldrin as his art consultant and eventually marry Becky, Ted's ex-girlfriend, and Robin’s boat-obsessed former co-anchor.
The Captain then also appears in How I Met Your Father episodes 9 and 10 as Sophie tells the story of his divorce from Becky, who catches him cheating on her after a decade of marriage. During the divorce proceedings, George "The Captain" Van Smoot makes the infamous Pineapple Incident explanation canon, as the mystery was originally solved in a deleted scene from HIMYM season 9. How I Met Your Father’s season 1 finale connects his divorce to Sophie’s story when revealing that The Captain owned the boat that Sophie’s perfect date, Ian, was working on in Australia, with his marine biology expedition being canceled once Becky was awarded the vessel. With this link between The Captain and Ian established, How I Met Your Father suggests MacLachlan could return for season 2.
Becky (Laura Bell Bundy)
Becky Divorces The Captain In HIMYF
How I Met Your Mother character Becky also returns for How I Met Your Father season 1’s last two episodes. Like The Captain, Becky was introduced in HIMYM season 6, with the character briefly serving as Robin’s news co-anchor. While Becky only appeared in five episodes between How I Met Your Mother seasons 6 and 9, she was one of the most memorable recurring characters particularly due to her relationships with Ted and The Captain. Laura Bell Bundy’s appearances in How I Met Your Father contrasted the personality of her character in HIMYM, as Becky appeared far more mature from Sophie’s perspective than Ted’s. In How I Met Your Father season 1, Becky divorces The Captain and reveals that she never loved boats, suggesting her child-like naiveté and enthusiasm in HIMYM was a product of how Ted viewed her, and perhaps not a reflection of her true persona.
Carl (Joe Nieves)
HIMYF Cameo HIMYM Sophie & Carl at MacLaren's Pub
One of the more unexpected How I Met Your Father cameos was by Joe Nieves, who portrayed the recurring character Carl the bartender throughout HIMYM’s nine seasons. Carl was the bartender and presumed owner of MacLaren’s ever since HIMYM’s pilot episode, with the character still making drinks when Sophie and Robin meet in How I Met Your Father’s season 1 finale. Joe Nieves’ character appeared in over 20 episodes of How I Met Your Mother, with Carl and Wendy the Waitress forever being associated with the gang’s time at MacLaren’s Pub. As such, it’s fitting that Carl returned in How I Met Your Father when Sophie visited MacLaren’s for the first time, with the bartender speaking with Robin just like in the old days. Since Sid and Jesse still live above MacLaren’s Pub, Carl returning for future episodes of How I Met Your Father seems to be a given.