Ever since CBS renewed its hit comedy How I Met Your Mother for seasons 7 and 8, some fans have supposed that season 8 might mark the conclusion of the series. With that final contracted season about to begin, rumors have been swirling about the show's fate.
Initially, we'd heard that the network was hopeful that the adventures of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and friends would go on. Then, word broke that star Jason Segel might be looking to exit the series, potentially spelling its end. Now, it seems that the possibility of season 9 is looking far slimmer.
Courtesy of Access Hollywood, star Neil Patrick Harris – who plays the show's signature character in "legendary" womanizer Barney Stinson – has said that the HIMYM's impending eighth season would likely be its last:
"Our contracts end at [Season] 8, so it's one of those, you know, if they wanna do 9, they're welcome to, but we have a lot of other things [going on]. Cobie [Smulders] has got The Avengers that just made a billion dollars, Jason [Segel] makes a ton of movies, I'm anxious to move East and Josh [Radnor] is directing and acting in movies as well. So, we all are anxious to move forward."
As is par for the course when a successful series nears its end, it seems that another season largely depends on luring the cast back with a hefty paycheck, as Harris himself admits.
"I think the only way I think a season 9 or any longer would happen would be [if it were] financially right – that's the reality of it. We love the show, we love doing it – eight years is a long time, and we're as happy a family as we've ever been."
We at Screen Rant had previously speculated that the increasingly busy schedules of the five-person ensemble cast of HIMYM could lead to the show's end, since all of its cast members have seen their careers sky-rocket since the series premiered in 2005. For instance, Radnor has just directed his second feature Liberal Arts (which he also wrote and stars in), and it's unclear if Smulders' involvement in The Avengers franchise would extend to a role in the in-development S.H.I.E.L.D. series.
Co-creator Craig Thomas recently told Zap2it that there's also no chance that he and co-creator Carter Bays would continue without every member of the main cast. In fact, they're approaching season 8 as if it is the end of the series. Here's what Thomas had to say:
"We're writing this season like it's the end. We sort of have a Plan A and a Plan B going [should Season 9 happen], but we're approaching the point where those two things would diverge. It gets more and more difficult as it goes on. Ultimately, it going to be more and more work that we're going to have to throw out if this isn't our last season, so we'd like to know as soon as possible. It's a lot of big machinery we're moving around.
Still, Thomas maintains that – if the show continues for a ninth year – the writing staff has plenty of ideas left.
If this is the last season of How I Met Your Mother, it's everything we ever dreamed of and more, and eight seasons is great. That being said, do we have a ninth season is us? Absolutely. We could do a ninth season if it was possible."
It's unknown exactly how the show's storyline would change if it's renewed for a ninth year. However, word is that season 8 will end with the wedding where Ted will finally meet the "mother" of the show's title. One popular theory is that subsequent seasons could follow the couple as they begin to date, but some fans feel this would betray the very premise of the show.
Many shows have overextended their welcomes, and fans should hope that the HIMYM goes out on top, before the characters become stale and the writers run out of ideas. Plus, the way the past couple of seasons have progressed, season 8 feels like the right time for the show to come to a bittersweet end.
HIMYM has only really made a handful of major missteps during its run (looking at you, season 5!), but for the most part, Bays and Thomas have done a remarkable job breathing relatable, hilarious life into the trials and tribulations of young adults in their late 20s and early 30s, from searching for love to losing loved ones.
Despite Thomas's fairly diplomatic response above, it seems that all signs are pointing towards this coming season being the last of HIMYM. Does this seem like the right time for the show to end, Screen Rant readers? What would you like to see happen in the final season? Let us know in the comments.
How I Met Your Mother returns for season 8 on Monday, September 24 at 8pm on CBS.