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How I Met Your Mother - Season 9 - Carter Bays Zap2it interview

"The whole 'it's going to be the weekend before the wedding' thing, I get the reaction," co-creator Carter Bays tells Zap2it. "If you haven't been in the writers' room with us cooking it up and you just hear that, you'd think 'They're just pushing back the end-zone line.'"

He hopes, however, that skeptics will change their mind after seeing the start of the season. In a recent interview, Bays explained the structure of the final season, the secrecy surrounding Milioti's casting and some other issues "HIMYM" will cover in its final run.

Zap2it: What was the timeline of deciding this was the final season? Was it getting the renewal and then deciding the structure?

Carter Bays: A lot of the decisions came out of necessity, but a lot of them were things that became opportunities. I think the 56-hour issue was the big one. We definitely felt like, for various reasons -- the ages of [Ted's] kids and things -- Barney and Robin had to get married in May 2013. That was the thing we were stumbling on, and then [co-creator] Craig [Thomas] had the idea of, What if we did a whole season just over the course of the wedding, but use that framework as a springboard to tell stories from 10 years in the future, 10 years in the past, stories at the wedding? Because there are certainly lots of stories to come out of that.

We had that idea around the time when we were trying to decide, "Do we feel like we have another season in us?," which was last fall. I think we were in talks with the actors, but we didn't have a deal. We were ready to squelch it right away if we felt like we only had 13 episodes left in us. But then this idea came up, and more ideas came snowballing out of that. It became such a big idea that it definitely at a certain point, it tipped the scales. It made it feel like if we don't get to do this ninth season, we're going to regret it for the rest of our lives.

I have to say I was skeptical hearing about the format at first. How much of the season is set in the show's present, and how much jumping back and forth do you do?

I think the thing that keeps fuel in our tank is having something new to write. We don't want to write the same thing over and over. At that point we were actually sort of surprised by some of the reactions, because ... just from our standpoint, coming into work every day, we're writing stuff we wouldn't have written any other season. It's giving us a lot of new material. Meeting the mother was also the big puzzle piece in this, because we get to tell all the stories about her we want to tell. We get to get to know her and explore that part of the show. At one point we were never going to meet her -- there was a point when it was just, you meet her in the last scene, and after nine years, it felt like you deserved more.

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