"The door is definitely open to having more of the gang return," co-creator Isaac Aptaker tells EW.
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Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season 1 finale of How I Met Your Father, which is now streaming on Hulu.

Robin Scherbatsky has lived many lives: Canadian pop star, Barney Stinson's wife, acclaimed news anchor. Now, she can add the title of How I Met Your Father relationship mentor to that list.

Cobie Smulders made a surprise cameo in the How I Met Your Mother spin-off's season 1 finale, guiding Hilary Duff's Sophie Tompkins through her boy troubles in the iconic MacLaren's Bar.

Though Sophie's squad tends to frequent a different bar, her friend-turned-something-more Jesse (Chris Lowell) lives upstairs from MacLaren's in the same apartment that once housed Ted (Josh Radnor) and Marshall (Jason Segel), resulting in the perfect moment to bring back a HIMYM regular.

The show's creators and showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (This Is Us) told EW about the magic on set while filming with Smulders and how the show is still managing to distinguish itself from the original series, which ran from 2005 to 2014.

"We really wanted to let people get to know [Sophie and her friends] as a crew before we started bringing in characters from the original," Aptaker tells EW. "It's been a really, really interesting balancing act to take something that's such a huge title and so loved and try to create something that honored it and has many similarities to it but also stands on its own two feet."

How I Met Your Father
Credit: Patrick Wymore/Hulu

Smulders wasn't the only original cast member to return in the finale, with another intertwined story involving pineapple culprit The Captain (Kyle MacLachlan) and his wife Becky (Laura Bell Bundy).

Berger says that seeing Smulders return to the character to work again with director Pam Fryman and some of the original show's crew was "truly an emotional experience for her and everyone who worked with her."

In HIMYM's controversial finale, Robin was divorced from Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and making headway in her reporting career. The show's glimpse into 2020 showed Robin's face plastered on buses as she inched her way toward fame, and in 2030, she accepts Ted's blue French horn romantic gesture.

"We worked on that scene pretty extensively with [HIMYM creators] Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas] because obviously they have a lot of opinions about where Robin ended up, rightfully so," Aptaker says. "We wanted to show that she was at a place in her life where she had great success and had this wisdom to impart onto Sophie."

How I Met Your Father
Cobie Smulders reprises her role as Robin Scherbatsky
| Credit: Patrick Wymore/Hulu

In the HIMYF finale, Sophie struggles with her new relationship with Jesse after he says "I love you" during their first night together and turns down his dream gig of going on tour with his ex (Leighton Meester). (Of course, hearing "I love you" on the first date is something Robin has some experience in).

"We really wanted to bring someone back in a way that felt organic to our gang and our particular story," Berger says. "We really loved the idea that Sophie is at this crossroads, and she gets to talk to someone that we all saw go through so many romantic chapters and tribulations in her own life. It instinctively felt like these are the two characters who need to meet and need to talk."

The Hulu show has been renewed for a second season, making room for even more guest appearances. Aptaker adds that Bays, Thomas, and Fryman have an easy in with the original cast since they're still so close — Fryman even officiated Harris's wedding.

"I think they're all kind of watching this one curiously, wondering if they're going to get a phone call," Aptaker hints. "The door is definitely open to having more of the gang return."

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