Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Today’s How I Met Your Mother panel at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles was certainly less heated than, say, that of Two Broke Girls. But the lack of drama thankfully didn’t translate into lack of scoop.

In fact, executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas were rather forthcoming about what’s coming up on their hit comedy, and (joined on stage by stars Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel) dolled out some pretty good scoop on what’s to come. We’ve picked out the five best bits.

They’re not focused on the ending — but they know what it is

After being renewed for two seasons last May, Bays and Thomas say that the end is not “a high priority” for them. “I sort of feel like ‑‑ I don’t know if we can say just now when it’s going [to happen],” says Bays. “I would imagine, going into the final season of the show, we’d probably hip people to that and let them know, like, ‘Okay, we’re coming up on the end.’ But beyond that I think it would be hard to for us to say.” And Segel joked that the duo might not even have to announce it should the time come. “We have to see if the Mayans were right also… It might be Dec. 21, 2012, you’ll meet the mother.” The EP duo also reaffirmed what they’ve said several times — they know how the series will end. “We can’t really say one way or the other because that would kind of give it away. But yeah, I mean, it’s ‑‑ obviously this show is built around one central question, so that meeting will sort of be part of the endgame of the show,” Bays says. The pair have also not squashed talk of a possible spinoff, though they have no plans in the works.

Expect big Ted developments in February

Ted’s recent disinterest in the idea of marriage directly contradicts the overarching theme of the show (that Ted finds marital bliss). But that issue will be addressed in February with Ted doing some “soul-searching,” says Thomas. “We’re going to see Ted do exactly the assessment [that] ‘Boy, I’m years…past the moment that Marshall and Lily got engaged, and I’m still sort of out here looking.’ And he’s going to come up with what he thinks is the answer, and then we’re going to kind of explore whether it is the right answer for him.”

They have not cast the mother — and doing so is going to be a pain

How do you put a face to one of the most iconic characters in a series? Well, Bays and Thomas haven’t figured that out yet. “There is the one school of thought where you want her to turn around and she’s Jennifer Aniston because it has to be, like, a huge star, but maybe it should be someone we’ve never seen before,” says Bays. Jokingly (we think), Thomas lamented that Cobie Smulders “should have been the mother…. We screwed up.”

Marshall and Lily will continue to live in the suburbs, but…

“We’re definitely going to explore them realizing that it is a little bit isolating to be out in the suburbs, away from all their friends and the bar, and we’re going to see them deal with that in actually the next few episodes that will air,” says Thomas. “And I think we can say that it’s not necessarily a permanent stop, and there will be some fun, arc-y stuff with these two about that.” Meanwhile, Bays adds that viewers will also soon learn how they plan to keep the gang together in the bar while Lily’s pregnant. “It’s a real identity crisis when there’s a baby on the way, and I think we’re going to kind of explore that,” he says. “And I think moving to the suburbs was part of that for Marshall and Lily, sort of them falling into this role that seems like what you have to do when you have a baby on the way. And it’s partly true but I think they’ll find some happy medium.” Adds Thomas: “The episode that airs this coming Monday is all about how much sort of the two halves of the group now miss each other once they’ve moved out of there, so we pick right up on that.”

Lastly, don’t live in fear of more fake-outs

Finding out Robin’s conversation with her “children” was all a fantasy in the midseason finale — simply put — enraged some viewers. But Bays said Ted’s voice-over (courtesy of Bob Saget) has always been the North Star to the truth, and viewers should never forget that. “He’s never lied to us. He’s joked. He’s goofed around a couple times, but he’s always said when he’s joking,” says Bays. “We sort of take the stuff that he says kind of as gospel….I think people can trust what Bob Saget says.” But Hannigan sympathized with viewers’ frustrations. “I was so angry too,” she says. “But I mean, it’s because I care so much. It’s like, ‘Why are you making me cry at a table read?’ But that’s just how good it is.” (James Hibberd contributed to this report.)

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