While CBS and the cast of How I Met Your Mother consider the question to continue after the show’s eighth season, Jason Segel may hold the trump card, as a recent statement by the actor hints he’s ready to make season 8 his last.

The statement in question was made during an interview with the Austrian website Kurier.at, so the issue has now become whether the actor’s words were somehow confused in the translation, or if it’s being labeled as such to prevent season 9 negotiations from stalling out before they even get started.

Segel reportedly said:

”It’s great to do some ‘Rated R’ stuff again, because I’ve been playing the nice guy for quite a long time now. That’s why I’m gonna quit How I met your Mother after the eighth season.”

A representative for the actor was quick to jump on this by issuing this statement to TV Guide“Perhaps something got lost in translation, but season 9 hasn’t even been addressed yet.”

While it’s true the conversation between the cast and CBS regarding the future of How I Met Your Mother has yet to take place, there are other comments made by Segel that appear to strengthen the claim that he already has one foot out the door. It seems as though the actor feels the long-running comedy is finally ready for its conclusion.

”I’ve hit my thirties, the TV show that I’ve been doing for eight years is coming to its natural end, I’m feeling much more like, ‘OK, now it’s time for phase three.’ It’s time, I think.”

Segel has been with the series since its launch in 2005, and in that time he has seen his profile increase dramatically after headlining films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, The Five Year Engagement and last year’s The Muppets. He’s also scheduled to appear in Seth Rogen’s long-awaited apocalyptic comedy The End of the World. With those films under his belt and many more offers likely rolling in, it’s easy to understand why Segel would be reluctant to continue the hectic schedule of performing in feature films while maintaining the full-time gig that is How I Met Your Mother.

As CBS is interested in doing season 9, perhaps this is the leverage Segel would use to prevent the network from drawing the series’ conclusion out any longer than it already has been. Segel has expressed interest in leaving the show before now, but has remained on the program for what will be eight full seasons – making the thought of a ninth (and likely last) season absent Segel sound positively dreadful.

It’s hard to fathom How I Met Your Mother continuing on a positive note without such a core member of the cast, so expect Segel’s decision (whichever way it may go) to hold considerable sway over the future of the series.

How I Met Your Mother season 8 premieres Monday, September 24 @8pm on CBS.

Source: TV Guide, Virgin Media