HIMYM Boss on Robin and Barney's (Happy?) Future, Ted's 'Regrets,' Season 9 and More

The Final Page, Part One And TwoOne couple finally got closer to wedded bliss on Monday night’s How I Met Your Mother when Robin accepted Barney’s extremely elaborate proposal. But have Barman and Robin put all of their issues behind them? How will Ted and the rest of the gang take the news? And will this May mark the end of HIMYM‘s journey? We took those burning questions and more to co-creator Carter Bays.

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TVLINE | Before we get to Monday’s romantic episode, the buzz is that you were hoping to get an answer to the looming renewal question by the end of this month so you can start planning for a season or series finale.
We’re right in the middle of it. If you had any idea the kind of white-knuckled, nail-biting going on… It’s very exciting. But we’re all very confident it will work out. We’re hoping to announce something at the TCAs [winter press tour in January]. Our goal is say one way or the other by then.

TVLINE | Is there an absolute drop-dead date by which you have to know?
We’d love to know today. We’d love to know tomorrow. But the drop-dead date for us is the TCAs in January, when we make that announcement.

TVLINE | By that point, what episode will you be working on?
We’ll be pretty far down the field, to be honest. We’ll be coming around to the point where we need to start changing our work, which we really don’t want to do. We don’t want to throw out ideas. By mid-January, if we haven’t announced, something is terribly, terribly wrong.

TVLINE | Is it true that the decision now rests with the actors?
It’s something that we’re all kind of deciding together. Some of it has to do with money, but a lot of it also has to do with the schedule. We want to make sure that our actors continue to be able to do all the fun,extracurricular stuff that they do. They all have really big careers outside of our show, and we respect that and want to make sure that we’re able to make a good product and that they’re still able to do all the things they want to do. More than anything, it’s that. It’s just figuring out if and how we can do another year. That’s the question.

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TVLINE | On that note, is a shortened ninth and final season a strong possibility versus a full season order?
I would rather not. I feel like if we’re going to spend a year of our life on it, I’d rather do the full 24 [episodes] to really do it right. That’s where I fall. It’s how [co-creator] Craig [Thomas] and I see it. We’d be open to other possibilities, but our dream would be to do another 24-episode season.

TVLINE | Switching gears to last night’s episode, since Barney and Robin haven’t been together in a while, what was the thinking behind not having them date for a little bit and then get engaged?
I feel like they’re past that as a couple. Dating is how you get to know someone and decide if they’re right for you. They’ve certainly gotten to know each other over the past eight years. As you get older, you start to realize that you don’t need that much time to figure out what’s right and what’s what. That’s why they’ve moved up the timeline.

TVLINE | Robin went really quickly from feeling manipulated by Barney’s master plan to accepting his proposal. What changed for her? What’s going through her head in that moment?
She loves Barney. She loves him. It’s a moment of realizing he’s going to be lacking in certain regards, and that’s just part of who Barney is. But what you get with the package more than makes up for it. She would love for Barney to be a guy who can just ask her out on a date and they have dinner a few times, but that’s just not his style. It’s sort of her realizing that he’s a bit of a nut, but she is too, so it works for the two of them.

TVLINE | Are they together for good now until the wedding? No more break-ups and make-ups?
I can’t tell you that one way or the other. I’m not going to say that the road from here to the wedding is completely smooth. This was a rash decision that Robin ran into, and [it was] somewhat rash on Barney’s part — even though it’s extremely calculated in other ways. There’s still going to be some bumps in the road, some things to hammer out. But we’ve known from the beginning that they’re headed to the altar. This is a big step towards that.

TVLINE | Where does the next episode pick up? Is there a time jump?
It’s going to be a couple days after the engagement. Everyone’s dealing with bigger questions of this big change – a big change that not only affects [Barney and Robin], but the whole gang.

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TVLINE | Marshall was really rooting for Ted and Robin, so how does he take this news?
He’s going to lose that bet with Lily. It’s not looking good for Marshall.

TVLINE | Will the engagement set Ted back on the path to finding the mom? It’s been a while since he dated.
He’s got some dating coming up. It hits him pretty hard, finding out that the girl that was once the girl of his dreams…. The fact that she’s engaged to his best friend, that’s potentially devastating. Ted’s a guy who always tries to do the right thing and can be generous to a fault sometimes, and this is a situation where maybe he was a little too generous and maybe he regrets his generosity a little bit in encouraging Robin to follow her heart. Because it’s going to be hard seeing her happy with his best friend. But that’s going to be his journey for the rest of the series, really.

TVLINE | And now that Barney and Robin are engaged, will we get more flashes forward to their wedding day and more hints about the mom?
Yes, we are. There’s some little tidbits coming up in the next few episodes. Some fun, little reveals. We’re getting close to the end, so we’re gearing to actually see that moment where they meet.

himym 300TVLINE | Rachel Bilson is coming back as Cindy. How will she guide Ted to the mom?
I don’t want to reveal too much about it. It’s still kind of a secret. But we are going to see that little connective tissue of how and why it was important that he met Cindy and dated her in the bigger story.

TVLINE | What’s the next challenge for Marshall and Lily as new parents?
Marshall is going to have some career stuff come up. He just had this big case in his work. They won, but they only won $25,000. It’s going to affect the firm that he’s working at it. It’s going to make things difficult. And Lily is going to have some career issues of her own. She’s been teaching for 12 years now, and now she’s got a baby, too. It’s all childcare, all the time. It’s going to start to get to her a little bit, and we’re going to start to see her try and re-energize her interest in art and her interest in maybe having a different career.

Stay tuned to TVLine.com for lots more HIMYM scoop!