Has How I Met Your Father Already Ruled Out a Potential Tie to HIMYM?

How I Met Your Father - Barney Stinson

Who’s your daddy? Or, more specifically, who’s Sophie’s baby daddy? That’s the million-dollar question — which may or may not take nine seasons to answer — heading into How I Met Your Father.

On the heels of Wednesday’s announcement that Hulu had ordered the Hilary Duff-led How I Met Your Mother followup to series, fans began speculating how the new show would be tied to its predecessor — if at all. Is it reallyyyy a spinoff, or it more of a “kindred spirit”?

One connective tissue could involve the titular dad. As many a fan has pointed out, Barney welcomed a child into the world in HIMYM‘s time-hopping series finale — and the mother’s identity was never revealed.

There’s just one problem with that theory: Barney had a daughter named Ellie. HIMYF, we’re told, takes place in the near future, as Sophie tells her son the story of how she met his father.

Before we let the Barnacle run off and celebrate Not a Father’s Day with his best bros, we should point out that another illegitimate Stinson is certainly within the realm of possibility. After all, this is the same man who eventized his 200th sexual conquest. And it was something of a running joke that Barney probably fathered his fair share of children. (Remember when Lily thought she was pregnant in Season 6, and Barney leapt up from his chair and proclaimed, “I’ve never seen that woman before in my life,” sheerly out of force of habit?)

While the father’s identity will presumably be kept under wraps for quite some time, here’s what we do know about HIMYF: The 10-episode first season, per its logline, “catapults us back to the year 2021, where Sophie and her close-knit group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options.” Created by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (This Is Us) and executive-produced by original series creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, the sequel series will blend multi- and single-camera elements to give it a similar look and feel to the original CBS comedy.

Do you think there’s a chance — even the slightest one — that Barney will turn out to be the Father? Or do you think HIMYF will find other ways to tie itself to the original series? Drop your thoughts in a comment below.