It will, however, take quite a journey for the all-but-confirmed bachelor to get there, one that will revisit his past with Robin in “complicated and juicy” fashion, executive producer Craig Thomas tells TVLine. And Barney is not the only one who will be on a new path, as we learned in Monday’s season finale. After a rough year, Marshall and Lily are expecting a little Marshmallow or Lilypad, while Ted has finally blown up The Arcadian and his relationship with Zoey. Lucky for us, Thomas was kind of to offer up some teases about what it all means for the CBS comedy’s Season 7.
TVLINE | Given some of his issues, Barney getting married suggests quite a change for the character. Will we see a very different Barney next season?
We don’t know when this wedding is taking place. … We’re threading the needle on that [in Season 7]. How does Barney get to that place? What changes him? What makes him want to do this? Who’s he marrying? How did they get there? What’s going on on that wedding day? Is he happy? Is he nervous? Is this going to go forward? Is it going to be a disaster? … I will tease that in November sweeps of Season 7, where there will be four huge episodes for Barney. It will involve Robin, and there will be some very explosive relationship stuff happening.
TVLINE | You have stated that the wedding will be revisited in the Season 7 premiere. Will we be getting another clue?
Yes. We’ll be getting more clues. The season premiere of Season 7 will pick right back up at that future wedding. We’ll get to see more of Ted and Barney’s conversation [there]. … You will learn more. That wedding will inform Episode 1 of Season 7 quite a bit. In fact, it is a wedding-themed episode.
TVLINE | Does that mean there’s another wedding, in the present timeline?
I don’t want to say. I want to leave something up for grabs.
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TVLINE | A lot of people are speculating that the bride is either Nora or Robin. Is it safe to say that it’s one or the other?
It’s not safe to say that. Season 7 is going to be interesting. There’s going to be some [new] candidates. I wouldn’t limit it to those two.
TVLINE | How big of a role will Nora and the character played by Michael Trucco play next season?
For Michael Trucco, it’s good for him, bad for us, because his cable show (Fairly Legal) got picked up for a second season, so we won’t get to use as much of him as we would like. He will come back – we promised that through the narrator – but we won’t be able to use him extensively. Nora, I will say, is definitely going to be a part of Season 7.
TVLINE | Carter [Bays, co-creator] told TV Guide Magazine that the wedding is the beginning of Ted’s love story and the end of somebody else’s. Is there anything you’d like to add to that?
All I’ll say is that when we eventually get to that future wedding day, it is definitely not what everyone would expect. It’s not a wedding day that will go completely smoothly, but it will end with Barney being married. It’s not a fake-out. It’s not going to be something where he runs away from it. Barney Stinson will get married that day, and we will show to whom and exactly how it goes down.
TVLINE | There were a lot of hints in the finale that maybe Robin isn’t completely over Barney. What is her journey next season?
For any fans who felt we shortchanged by the Barney and Robin story in Season 5, there’s some really juicy stuff coming up for the two of them in Season 7. Like I said, some pretty big stuff goes down in November sweeps. In Season 5, we had them date for, I think, eight episodes and break up, and that felt right at the time. These two characters didn’t feel anywhere near ready to commit to one another. It’s now a couple years later, Robin is seeing Barney grow up a little bit… It’s not gone unnoticed by Robin, who also did not have a serious love interest this past year. She’s definitely going to have to wrestle with that at the start of Season 7.
TVLINE | Lily and Marshall, especially, had a very tough year. Will next season be lighter and more joyous for them now that they’re finally pregnant?
Definitely, we will see a very joyous and happy Marshall and Lily embarking upon pregnancy and parenthood in Season 7. As like a fan of the show, I felt so happy for them that they had a light at the end of this tunnel. It’s like the clouds have parted and the sun is shining on them.
TVLINE | Are you worried at all about adding a baby to the show, and what that will do to the dynamic?
I think it’s just going to get us nothing but huge ratings – a little baby. [Laughs] I don’t worry about it. There’s that conventional wisdom that babies ruin shows, but ultimately we’re writing this series about people starting in their late twenties and going through into their early and now mid-thirties. This couple has been together for something like 16 years, so it’s natural for them to embark upon this. To me, it would be much weirder not to introduce a baby at this point. Why wouldn’t they be doing that? And we’re very lucky that television seasons are roughly the length of a pregnancy. And we did jump ahead to September for the “I’m pregnant” moment, so we have a pregnancy year coming up, which is great because you have three trimester’s worth of material to write. … That’s stories we’ve never done in our 136 episodes, so I think it’s great to have the new material.
TVLINE | With the two-year renewal, have you plotted out the story through Season 8? Or are you just focusing on Season 7?
The two-year renewal is great for us because it has allowed us to figure out the big moments we need to hit in Season 7 to set up a bunch of stuff in Season 8. We already have a bunch of arcs planned for Season 8 and quite a bit of Season 7 planned out. Like I said, I’m especially looking forward to November sweeps in Season 7. There’s some enormous Robin/Barney stuff happening in there… There’s a tremendous amount of chemistry between these two characters. It’s all very complicated and juicy and frustrating and fun. It’s very cool to open up that chapter again [which] was never completely finished.
TVLINE | Ted was in a relationship for most of this season. Will he remain single for a stretch or are you going to introduce another love interest?
Ted is single at the start of Season 7, he doesn’t pair up right away. I don’t want to give too much away about where it all goes. … It’s actually a really refreshing thing writing Season 7 so far, to get Ted really reset back to square one of, “I’ve had all this career success. I’ve been focusing on my work. I remember at one point I was really committed to finding the right woman and settling down and having kids. Whatever happened to that?” Ted, when we met him at age 27, already felt like he was running late on meeting the right woman and having kids. So now he’s realizing, “I’m 33 now. I kind of have to get on this in a recommitted, serious way.” That leads to some really fun stuff for Ted [and] some “single and on the town in New York City” stories.
TVLINE | Will the GNB Tower storyline carry over for Ted?
Yeah. Season 7, Ted starts off on a hot streak because he’s kind of a big shot — it’s incredibly rare for someone in their mid-thirties to get a skyscraper built that they designed. His students look up to him, he ends up getting a feature written on him in New York magazine…. All of a sudden, Ted’s a catch.
TVLINE | Over the course of the season, will we get more hints about who the Mother is, like we did in “Girls vs. Suits”?
Definitely. We’re going to spend more time in that future wedding day and learn more about what leads to Ted meeting the mother, and who she is.
What are you most looking forward to seeing in Season 7? Are you excited the show is revisiting Barney and Robin? Who do you think the mystery bride is?