While Barney Stinson may seem like the ideal character for an appearance on How I Met Your Father, the finest crossover is really a classic supporting character. How I Met Your Father is a role-reversal variation on the original series concept, but the writers of HIMYM have hinted that the programs’ ties would go a little farther. Given what we already know from the flash-forward sequences in HIMYM’s contentious ending, the new Hulu series will take place in the early 2020s, and the original characters will largely be in New York at this period. This will make it simpler to connect the two shows.
The fact that the two series are set in the same universe has led to speculation that key characters from How I Met Your Mother will appear in the new series. It was widely assumed that Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) would be the best original series character to reintroduce following this show. Barney as a womanizer, for example, could easily be incorporated into How I Met Your Father as a one-night stand with one of the new female characters, his profile could be displayed on a dating app, or one of the new male characters could be frequent readers of his blog and/or the infamous Playbook.
While Barney appears to be the most obvious choice, the ideal How I Met Your Father crossover character isn’t in the cast. Instead, Ranjit, the gang’s frequent cab/limo driver from the previous series, is the finest figure to naturally connect the two episodes. Ranjit was one of the most well-known recurring characters on How I Met Your Mother, appearing in both the series premiere and conclusion. Ranjit featured in almost 20 episodes of the show and was present for some of the show’s most memorable moments. Connecting the two programs through the popular limo driver would feel considerably more natural, with Ranjit acting as the ideal vehicle for How I Met Your Father to continue the storyline while passing the time.
The characters from How I Met Your Father will intersect with those from the original series when they are all in their 40s, with steady careers and children, which means they won’t be traveling about in limos as much. The new cast of characters, on the other hand, are in their 20s and 30s and live the same lifestyle that HIMYM’s players did in the original series’ timeframe, so renting a limo and becoming Ranjit’s new passengers would make perfect sense. Furthermore, How I Met Your Father would be an excellent opportunity to update Ranjit in the present world while also contrasting how different city and dating life are for the new people from the HIMYM timeline.
Although a Barney would be a fantastic crossover, without a shadow of a doubt, Neil Patrick Harris’ appearance on How I Met Your Father risks detracting too much attention from the new characters. As a spin-off, How I Met Your Father will undoubtedly be compared to the original, beloved series, and although it will need to connect with the original, it will also need to separate itself from the characters of How I Met Your Mother and stand on its own. The series doesn’t need to bring in the original stars for a cameo, just like it’s sensible that How I Met Your Father isn’t using MacLaren’s Pub as a main location. The new show must establish itself as a continuation of the original—especially because many of its viewers are expected to be repeat HIMYM viewers—but it must also preserve its own identity; having prominent characters like Barney pop in and out distracts from engagement in the new characters. Ranjit, on the other hand, is an obvious and entertaining link to the original series that best illustrates the new characters’ takeover. If Ranjit answers the door and enthusiastically offers his legendary “hello” greeting, he wouldn’t be as bothersome to How I Met Your Father as Barney and would still delight How I Met Your Mother fans with an in-universe link.