Warning: This post contains spoilers for the How I Met Your Father season 2 premiere.How I Met Your Father showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger have debunked the popular fan theory that Barney Stinson is Sophie’s father. While the main mystery of the series is who the father of Sophie’s future child is, there is also the mystery of who Sophie’s father is. How I Met Your Father season 1 featuring How I Met Your Mother characters including Robin Scherbatsky and the Captain opened the door for more familiar characters to appear in the spinoff series, with their appearances having the potential to answer the mystery of Sophie’s parentage. This led to the theory that infamous womanizer Barney Stinson might be Sophie’s father.
While Barney does make an appearance in the How I Met Your Father season 2 premiere after Sophie accidentally rear-ends his car, showrunners Aptaker and Berger confim in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he is not Sophie’s father. They explain that the theory doesn’t work because of the timeline established in both series. Sophie turns 30 in 2022, meaning she was born in 1992. How I Met Your Mother revealed that Barney didn’t have sex for the first time until 1999, meaning he can’t be her father. Check out Aptaker and Berger’s explanation below:
Even though Barney isn’t Sophie’s father, he still has an important role to play in How I Met Your Father. In the interview with EW, the How I Met Your Father writers teased that they have ideas for all the original How I Met Your Mother characters to return. Spinoff cameos for each character are not only based on the actors’ availability, but also on what makes the most sense for where Sophie is at in her journey. Just as Robin appeared in the How I Met Your Father season 1 finale to tell Sophie what she needed to hear at that specific point in her life, Sophie is running into Barney because he’s the person she needs right now.
The biggest shift in Barney’s life took place in 2020, a couple of years before How I Met Your Father‘s timeline in 2022. The How I Met Your Mother series finale shows that 2020 is the year Barney’s daughter Ellie is born. The first moment Barney holds his daughter is a life-changing moment where he decides to finally settle down and stop putting himself first as he realizes nothing and no one is as important as his daughter. Barney can give Sophie some much-needed perspective as he helps her focus on the people she loves and becoming the best version of herself.
This is a fascinating point in the timeline to explore Barney’s character. Barney’s How I Met Your Father cameo can show what life is like for him as a changed man just a couple of years into fatherhood. As a womanizer and the most immature member of the core friend group in the original show, it is ironic to think that he could now be a voice of reason and wisdom for Sophie in How I Met Your Father. Similar to Sophie, Barney didn’t know who his father was until much later in life. Barney is not Sophie’s dad, but he can be the father figure that she needs right now.
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