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How I Met Your Mother Cast Gets Sentimental, Avoids Mother Death Question at PaleyFest

Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, Josh Radnor, and Cristin Milioti
Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, Josh Radnor, and Cristin Milioti talk about How I Met Your Mother at PaleyFest on March 15.

It’s been nine seasons of the longest bedtime story ever as Ted Mosby tells his two children the tale of how he met their mother. And as How I Met Your Mother prepares to wrap up in a series finale on Monday, March 31, most of the cast — including Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Cristin Milioti, and Neil Patrick Harris (via Skype) — attended the PaleyFest panel moderated by reoccuring guest star Wayne Brady, who plays Barney’s gay black brother, on Saturday, March 15 to talk about the popular comedy’s highly-anticipated ending.

After Ted Mosby got emotional in a recent episode, many fans predicted that the Mother was going to die in the finale. And though actress Cristin Milioti recently told The Hollywood Reporter that those theories were “insane,” showrunner Carter Bays was careful to avoid the question at PaleyFest. 

“We’re wildly excited about the finale and obviously we can’t say anything,” he replied after being asked straight out if the Mother would die. Adding, “It’s beautiful.”

Milioti, 28, also admitted that before she joined the show, she had no idea how big of a deal her character really was. 

Cristin Milioti
Cristin Milioti, who plays the Mother, remained quiet about her character’s future on stage at The Paley Center.

“I don’t think I fully understood the scope of it until I finished binge-watching all of the seasons,” she said. “By then I’d already filmed three or four episodes. When I finally get to the episode where I [come on], it all set in, I’m like ‘Oh God! This is a big deal.'”

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And though fans are desperate to know what happens at the end of the beloved CBS smash, the stars are more nostalgic now that they’ve wrapped filming. 

“There is one memory I had when I was pregnant,” Hannigan, 39, recalled. “Marshall is meeting Lily at the airport and a marching band comes in. Because I was pregnant and highly emotional, the sound of this band playing for me and my unborn child, that was amazing. That was one of those moments where I was like I’m so, so blessed to have this job.”

Star Radnor, 39, is grateful to his character for keeping him humble all these years. 

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“I feel like he’s been a teacher for me,” Radnor admitted. “Another thing from a larger perspective is because the character doesn’t get a big win until the end. I was constantly getting knocks. I never had a moment where I felt like ‘Woo I made it in Hollywood!’ I always felt like he was a teacher of humility for me. Maybe that sounds a little silly. But he really kept my pride in check. He was going through a lot and I had to honor him and be with all that.”

Smulders, 31, wearing Kurt Geiger London Britton pumps, and Harris, 40, have enjoyed the final season revolving around their characters’ wedding. The Hedwig and the Angry Inch star got sentimental as he spoke to his costars via Skype, thanking each of them, but in particular, his bride. 

“Cobie there is no one in my life I would rather — there is no girl in my life — marry,” David Burtka’s fiance said. “The time we spend onscreen and off, to watch you from season 1 to season 9 grow as a person and actor and energy, has been super phenomenal to watch.”

Tissues please! 

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