Kids, in the early years of the 21st Century, the How I Met Your Mother cast became one of the most beloved sitcom ensembles of its generation. Thus, I am sure the How I Met Your Father cast are aware they have some legen- wait for it… DARILY big shoes to fill with their spiritual sequel series on Hulu.
Developed by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger and executive produced by original HIMYM creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, How I Met Your Father has a similar plot to its long-running, CBS original predecessor, but from the point of view of a woman telling her children her own love story, which largely consists of her and her friends’ many adventurous anecdotes while living in New York. I promise that we will not take too long explaining the How I Met Your Mother spin-off’s new characters and where you might recognize the actors who play them, starting with our lead protagonist.
Hilary Duff (Sophie)
While How I Met Your Mother was the story of how Josh Radnor’s Ted Mosby met his wife, How I Met Your Father is the story of how Hilary Duff’s Sophie met her husband. This is the actress and singer’s first leading role on a TV comedy since she played the title character of Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire, which spawned a theatrical movie in 2003 and almost spawned a Disney+ revival in 2020.
Before becoming a Disney star, Duff debuted as a young witch in 1998’s Casper Meets Wendy and eventually starred in movies like Cheaper By the Dozen in 2003 or 2005’s A Cinderella Story before offers for more mature films like 2008’s War, Inc. or the more recent (and more controversial) The Haunting of Sharon Tate in 2019. How I Met Your Father is also her first major follow-up to her role on the Younger cast, after the TV Land original had its final season on Paramount+ in 2021.
Francia Raisa (Valentina)
As Valentina, Sophie’s best friend and roommate (or, the Marshall Eriksen to her Ted, essentially) on How I Met Your Father, we have Francia Raisa, whose last experience as a series regular on a spin-off was on Freeform’s Grown-ish as a college student named Ana Torres. This was years after she broke out as a high school student named Adrian Lee on The Secret Life of the American Teenager when the network was still called ABC Family.
In 2005, Francia Raisa made her debut on FX’s Iraq War-inspired drama Over There, followed by two cheerleader comedies (straight-to-video Bring It On: All or Nothing in 2006 and 2009’s Fired Up!), two made-for-TV The Cutting Edge sequels, and guest spots on hits like CSI on CBS, Season 1 of The Mindy Project, and Netflix’s Dear White People series in a recurring role. In 2018, Raisa also co-starred with Tyra Banks in Freeform’s sequel to Life-Size - a Wonderful World of Disney installment from 2000 that originally starred Lindsay Lohan.
Christopher Lowell (Jesse)
Playing Sophie’s friend and aspiring musician, Jesse, on How I Met Your Father is Christopher Lowell, whose first experience as a series regular on a spin-off was on Private Practice as Dell Parker - a role he originated on the medical drama’s predecessor, Grey’s Anatomy. His first TV show (and first-ever acting gig) was ABC’s teen drama Life As We Know It from 2004 to 2005 before joining the Veronica Mars cast as “Piz” in 2006.
In 2014, Christopher Lowell starred on Fox’s short-lived military comedy series Enlisted and, two years later, played Nick Nolte’s onscreen son on Epix’s political satire Graves before getting cast on Netflix’s GLOW as Bash Howard. Lowell, who made his directorial debut with the 2013 dramedy Beside Still Waters, has also appeared in several Oscar darlings - namely Up in the Air in 2009, The Help in 2011, and Promising Young Woman as the infamous Al Monroe in 2020 - and is currently filming an adaptation of Grady Hendrix’s horror-comedy novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism.
Suraj Sharma (Sid)
Playing Jesse’s roommate, Sid, on How I Met Your Father is Suraj Sharma, who made a stunning acting debut as the title hero of director Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning survival drama Life of Pi in 2012. His second film - the biographical, Jon Hamm-led sports movie Million Dollar Arm - came out in 2014, the same year he joined Showtime’s Homeland cast as Aayan Ibrahim until 2015, which saw him the lead the international drama Umrika.
In 2016, Suraj Sharma starred in Burn Your Maps with Jacob Tremblay, followed by a few films set in his native country of India (such as the fantasy-comedy Phillauri, to name one) and American thrillers like Happy Death Day 2U from Blumhouse or Killerman with Liam Hemsworth in 2019. By then, Sharma had already been cast on ABC’s faith-based drama God Friended Me. His upcoming romantic-comedy movie Wedding Season (also starring former Schitt’s Creek cast member Rizwan Manji) is expected to come out in 2022.
Tien Tran (Ellen)
Playing Jesse’s adoptive sister, Ellen, on How I Met Your Father is Tien Tran, whose last experience starring in a spin-off (or sorts) was when she appeared on 2021’s Candyman cast in a brief role. She previously made a guest appearance on Netflix’s Easy in 2017, the same year she landed a recurring role on another web-based romantic-comedy series called Hot Date.
Tien Tran would work with Netflix again as a guest on the satirical comedy Space Force in 2020 and a guest voice actor on the animated, LGBTQ+-themed espionage adventure series Q-Force in 2021. Around that same time, she guest starred on Work in Progress - an LGBTQ+-themed Showtime original comedy she also wrote for - and on South Side for its second season after making the transition from Comedy Central to HBO Max.
Tom Ainsley (Charlie)
As Charlie, a model from England who also happens to be in love with Valentina, we have Tom Ainsley - an actor from England who debuted as a guest star on the country’s long-running, aptly-titled medical drama, Doctors, in 2014. The following year, he became better known to the American mainstream when he scored a recurring role on the E! original series The Royals as one third of an awkward love triangle for four episodes.
Also in 2015, Tom Ainsley had a recurring role on another series about royalty (this time a period piece called Versailles) before starring in a straight-to-video Jarhead sequel in 2016. The next year, he and Sarah Dumont played a husband and wife trapped in a tent with a snake in Serpent and he also led the cast of the war epic/horror movie hybrid Boots on the Ground. His most recent role before joining the How I Met Your Father cast is a romantic drama/horror movie hybrid called Safe Inside, which was released in 2019.
Kim Cattrall (Future Sophie)
The narrator of How I Met Your Mother was the late Bob Saget as the voice of Ted’s older self in the future. The narrator of How I Met Your Father as Sophie’s older self in the future is Kim Cattrall, who is best known for her five-time Emmy nominated role on the Sex and the City cast as the scene-stealing Samantha Jones, whom she reprised in two theatrically released spin-offs.
Before then, Kim Cattrall had a steady run of TV guest appearance in the late 1970s and early 1980s before achieving big screen stardom in comedies like Porky’s, the first of the many Police Academy movies, or the title role of Mannequin and fantasy thrillers like Big Trouble in Little China with Kurt Russell or Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, to name a few. In more recent years, Cattrall has reestablished herself as TV royalty on series like the quasi-anthology Tell Me a Story and Fox’s short-lived primetime soap Filthy Rich as the lead.
With an ensemble this talented, we should have no problem falling in with the How I Met Your Father cast just like we did with Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lily. See for yourself by streaming the spin-off, which is now available to stream on Hulu.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.