Every HIMYM Cameo On How I Met Your Father So Far

How I Met Your Father cast gallery pic
(Image credit: Hulu)

Kids, in the Fall of 2023, just a couple months after How I Met Your Father concluded its second season, Hulu decided to pull the plug. For people who enjoyed the sitcom like myself, this cancellation really was a bummer, especially because it meant that we would not see anymore How I Met Your Mother cast members reprising their original roles.

One of the things that made Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger’s spin-off fun — outside of the likable actors in the cast and bursts of clever wit — is when the show provided evidence that it existed in the same universe as its long-running predecessor. The return of fan-favorite How I Met Your Mother characters were the most satisfying hints. The following is a look back at all the cameos we saw. 

Alexis Denisof on How I Met Your Father

(Image credit: Hulu)

Alexis Denisof (Sandy Rivers)

How I Met Your Father provided fans with life updates for two of Robin Scherbatsky's former coworkers — the most recent of which was TV news reporter Sandy Rivers. He made his first Season 2 cameo while interviewing Jesse (Christopher Lowell from the Promising Young Woman cast) and his pop star girlfriend, Meredith (former Gossip Girl cast member Leighton Meester), as they promote their concert tour on his morning show.

The former anchorman would reappear in the two-part Season 2 finale reporting the weather, which he mentions is his latest demotion due to many, unspecified, allegations against him, reminding us once again how much of a scumbag he is. In real life, however, Sandy is played by HIMYM star Alyson Hannigan's real-life husband, Alexis Denisof.

Neil Patrick on How I Met Your Father

(Image credit: Hulu)

Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson)

The Season 2 premiere of How I Met Your Father featured a flash-forward in which Sophie (Hilary Duff) gets into a minor fender bender with a sharply dressed stranger, whom HIMYM fans immediately recognized as Barney Stinson (five-time Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris). The exciting cameo was paid off in the mid-season finale, in which Barney initially assumes Sophie is exacting revenge on him for his past as a serial womanizer (for which we learn he is treating himself with shock therapy).

The characters then discover they have a few things in common -- namely commitment issues and growing up without a father. After Barney shares his experience meeting his real father (John Lithgow) and the life-changing birth of his daughter, Ellie, it inspires Sophie to search for her own father, whom she was actually afraid might be her then-boyfriend (John Corbett). This marks yet another wonderful instance of a HIMYM vet helping the spin-off's central character when she needed it the most.

Cobie Smulders on How I Met Your Father

(Image credit: Hulu)

Cobie Smulders (Robin Scherbatsky)

In How I Met Your Father’s Season 1 finale, we were treated with a sighting of Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky, whom Sophie reveals she is a “fan” of. Just like how the character's former husband, Barney, would in the next season's final episode, Robin bumps into Sophie at just the right time.

The TV news star helps Sophie realize that she should not allow herself to make decisions based on fear, which is essentially what she did when she ran away from a long-awaited chance at romance with Jesse. I would have loved to see more of Robin in a future episode, especially for the chance to see more references to her past as a teen pop star in Canada.

Joe Nieves on HIMYF

(Image credit: Hulu)

Joe Nieves (Carl)

Sophie actually meets Robin at a place that the latter is very familiar with — MacLaren’s Pub — and catches her attention after she spectacularly fails to order a whiskey. The bartender who turns around to let her know that “up, neat, and on the rocks” is “not an order that make sense” is the bar’s owner, Carl — played by Joe Nieves.

Carl is one of the most recognizable recurring characters from How I Met Your Mother, and even played a pivotal role in many of the series’ best episodes, such as when he served Ted (Josh Radnor) five shots of “Red Dragon” in “The Pineapple Incident.” It would have been cool to see another sighting of him at McLaren's on How I Met Your Father, perhaps with a few other original cast members.

Kyle MacLachlan on HIMYF

(Image credit: Hulu)

Kyle MacLachlan (The Captain)

Before Ted met Tracy, one of his former girlfriends was a woman named Zoey Pierson (Jennifer Morrison), who was actually married when the two first met. Her then-husband’s real name is George Van Smoot, but he is better known by his preferred title: “The Captain,” who is one of Kyle MacLachlan’s most famous TV roles, outside of leading the Twin Peaks cast as Special Agent Dale Cooper.

The eccentric aristocrat made a hilarious surprise return in How I Met Your Father’s debut season, which revealed that he actually has a connection to Sophie, being the owner of the boat that her Tinder date, a marine biologist named Ian (Daniel Augustin), worked on while in Australia. However, we learn after said reveal that the boat will no longer belong to The Captain, but to his now ex-wife, who is also a very familiar face.

Laura Bell Bundy on HIMYF

(Image credit: Hulu)

Laura Bell Bundy (Becky)

I think I just have to say three words to jog the memory of any How I Met Your Mother fan who may not initially recognize Becky: “Boats! Boats! Boats!” Played by Laura Bell Bundy (who originated the role of Elle Woods in the Broadway production of Legally Blonde: The Musical), this fellow former girlfriend of Ted’s initially rose to fame as the energetic and a bit childish spokesperson for a boating expo in Farhampton before becoming Robin’s co-host on Come On, Get Up New York! It seemed like a match made in heaven when, near the end of HIMYM’s run, Becky was revealed to be engaged to someone who loves boats, The Captain.

However, we would witness their marriage come to an end in the first season of HIMYF, when our first sighting of The Captain’s return reveals he was having an affair, immediately prompting Becky to demand a divorce. During the proceedings, she negotiates ownership of all of his “boats, boats boats,” including the one Ian was working on in Australia, which allowed him to return to New York. So, I guess we can thank Becky for, at least, giving Sophie the chance to reconnect with him.

Josh Radnor previously teased the idea of coming back as Ted Mosby at some point, having discussed the idea with Duff himself. We also would have loved the chance to see Shrinking cast lead Jason Segel and former Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast member Alyson Hannigan as Marshall and Lily, too, but it looks that will not happen on HIMYF. I am at least happy to say that this spin-off was fun while it lasted.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.