The Project: CBS’ How I Met Your Mother
The Panel: Neil Patrick Harris (Barney), Cobie Smulders (Robin), Josh Radnor (Ted), Jason Segel (Marshall), Alyson Hannigan (Lily), Carter Bays (co-creator and executive producer), Craig Thomas (co-creator and executive producer), Pam Fryman (director and executive producer), and EW’s own Sandra Gonzalez moderating
Footage Screened: No season 9 sneak peeks, but the intro video showed Ted’s exasperated kids (Lyndsey Fonseca and David Henrie) at the end of their rope after eight years of listening to the world’s longest stream-of-consciousness story. Watch the “kids” (who are now twentysomethings) go on an F-bomb-riddled rant below:
Snap Judgment: In their first Comic-Con appearance, the cast and crew of How I Met Your Mother were clearly feeling the fan love, and they say season 9 will pay that love forward. “This season already feels like a big ‘thank you’ to you,” Alyson Hannigan said.
The Big Revelations: Since she’s in the title, let’s start with everything we learned about the mysterious “Mother.”
+ Josh Radnor is especially happy that his wife (played by Cristin Milioti) has finally arrived. “There was a sense of relief when Cristin joined, mostly so people won’t stop me on the street and say, ‘WHO’S THE MOTHER?!?'” he joked. Carter Bays also made it clear that Milioti will be around a lot longer than just a “here she is, and now they’re married!” reveal: “We’re going to get to know this lady.”
+ Will “Robin Sparkles” (Robin’s teen-pop-star alter ego) be back? “It’s a wedding,” Craig Thomas said. “People sing at a wedding.” Sparkles made her own kind of appearance at Comic-Con, when Cobie Smulders (with some help from the Indigo Ballroom crowd) sang “Let’s Go to the Mall” by request.
+ We already knew season 9 would be set at Robin and Barney’s wedding, but there’s another unique storytelling device on the way: One episode will be set entirely over the course of a single slap, part of Marshall and Barney’s infamous Slap Bet. The writers teased that they would use “tennis cam” technology to catch every angle of the smack, and that the story would be told through flashbacks and -forwards. Harris was not exactly pumped about this development. “Have you seen the size of Jason Segel’s hands? They match his penis,” he joked about his exhibitionist co-star. “It’s not fun — either of them.” And Marshall’s “You Just Got Slapped” slow jam (in the video below) is getting a makeover from a famous artist yet to be revealed. Stay tuned!
+ On upcoming guest star Sherri Shepherd: “There’s some spark there,” Segel revealed, with onscreen wife Hannigan responding, “WHAT?!?”
+ Speaking of guest stars, how many familiar faces will return for the final season? “Well, we’re throwing a wedding, and everyone’s invited,” Carter Bays teased. Harris has his own special request: “I want them to bring back Britney Spears, but, like, shaved-head, umbrella Britney,” Harris said of the two-time guest.
Choice Quote: “I never thought I’d get to make out with so many chicks!” Harris joked of what he’s taken from his time on the show.
Most Incisive Audience Question: It wasn’t so much “incisive” (or a “question”), but it was definitely a highlight. A fan dressed as Dr. Horrible approached the mic and recited a well-scripted routine about his apparent idol Harris, peeling off a series of breakaway costumes, including a Spider-Man getup (Harris voices Spider-Man/Peter Parker in the animated series). He then requested “the highest of fives” from the actor. He even got Twitter props from Harris himself: