‘How I Met Your Father’ Spoilers: Is Barney Sophie’s Dad?

Swarley is back, How I Met Your Mother fans! Neil Patrick Harris reprised his legendary How I Met Your Mother role as Barney Stinson in the How I Met Your Father Season 2 premiere. And the episode implied that Barney would play a significant role not only in the remainder of the season but also in Sophie’s life. Does that mean he could be her father?

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from How I Met Your Father Season 2 Episode 1, “Cool and Chill.”

Neil Patrick Harris and Hilary Duff, in character as Barney and Sophie in 'How I Met Your Father' Season 2 Episode 1, share a scene where Sophie rear ends Barney's car. Barney wears a black suit. Sophie wears a white long-sleeved shirt and light jeans.
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney and Hilary Duff as Sophie | Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Hulu

Neil Patrick Harris returned as Barney in ‘How I Met Your Father’ Season 2 Episode 1

How I Met Your Father Season 2 Episode 1 picked up right where the season 1 finale left off — with Ian surprising Sophie at the art gallery.

Sophie, being the hot mess she is, claimed that her life was uncomplicated romantically when she had broken up with Drew, slept with Jesse, and broken things off with Jesse in the past 24 hours. Plus, Sophie had just tried to make things right with Jesse when she spotted him kissing Meredith. If that isn’t the definition of complicated, we don’t know what is.

But while helping Sid and Hannah throw a spontaneous wedding reception, Sophie realized that she couldn’t be with Ian. At least, right now. So she told him she wasn’t ready, and he left again.

Afterward, Sophie and her friend group do the Electric Slide to make Sid happy. And while dancing, Sophie told Valentina, “I blew it with three guys in 48 hours, and now I’m doing the Electric Slide. I think this is my rock bottom.”

However, future Sophie informed her son that her “rock bottom” would actually come later that year. And the viewers then saw a flash forward of Sophie frantically calling her mom, Lori, while driving. She left her a message that said, “Mom, please call me back! I think I’m dating my dad.”

After Sophie hung up in the How I Met Your Father Season 2 premiere, she rear-ended a car that belonged to no other than Barney Stinson. He got out of his vehicle and just told Sophie, “Dude…”

The ‘How I Met Your Father’ showrunners reveal if Barney is Sophie’s dad

Following the big reveal in How I Met Your Father Season 2 Episode 1, the showrunners, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, discussed the How I Met Your Mother cameo with Entertainment Weekly. And when the interviewer asked if Barney could be Sophie’s dad, they gave a concrete answer.

“Yeah, we can debunk that, just based on the fact of the math of it,” Aptaker revealed. “He would be something like a sophomore in high school. It’s not really the story that we’re trying to tell.”

Barney was born in 1975, and Sophie was born in 1992. So if he were her dad, he would have been 17 at the time. But thanks to How I Met Your Mother, we know that Barney lost his virginity when he was 23.

Berger added, “We never like to dispel a theory because we love a good fan theory, but because How I Met Your Mother fans are so diehard and so good at tracking the timelines, and our fans are as well now, we can safely say that that is not the case and he is not the father.”

So, Barney is not Sophie’s dad in How I Met Your Father. So how is he connected to her story?

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Will Neil Patrick Harris continue to appear in season 2?

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Aptaker and Berger shared that Barney would appear sporadically throughout How I Met Your Father Season 2 via the flash-forward car crash. And the showrunners teased why Barney is showing up in Sophie’s life at this exact moment.

“It sends her in a totally new direction, which becomes the engine for a big chunk of our season,” Aptaker explained. “He’s really seminal in setting Sophie on the path she needs to be on to continue her journey to come of age and find love. I’m really excited for how his character changes Sophie’s life and the totally new direction that he sends her on.”

New episodes of How I Met Your Father Season 2 air Tuesdays on Hulu.