How I Met Your Mother’s Alternate Ending Explained

How I Met Your Mother had two different endings for the series, and the one that was chosen ended up being mighty controversial. The series, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, ran for 208 episodes over the course of nine seasons. It followed Ted Mosby, a man who chronicled his life as a hopeless romantic, which led up to meeting the mother of his children. Here’s a breakdown of the other How I Met Your Mother ending and why it would have been better received.

The How I Met Your Mother series finale, “Last Forever”, was split into two parts when it aired in March 2014. It featured a mix of flashbacks and future sequences detailing the final big moments in the lives of Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney. Of course, it also heavily focused on Ted’s milestone moments with the “Mother,” Tracy. By part 2 of the series finale, Robin and Barney were divorced, Marshall and Lily had a third child, and Ted became a father. Barney soon joined the parent club after the birth of his daughter. Ted and Tracy finally got married while Robin reconciled with the group. Lily memorably toasted Ted and his journey in finding Tracy before it was revealed that the love of his life passed away in 2024. After finishing the story, Ted’s kids realized their father was still in love with Robin, so they encourage him to go after her, which he did successfully.

How I Met Your Mother’s alternate ending follows much of the same path as the broadcast version up until Lily’s toast to Ted. The different ending was included in the How I Met Your Mother season 9 and complete series DVD box sets but leaked online a few months after the series finale aired. Rather than present the 2030 storyline with Future Ted, narrator Bob Saget recalled the sequence of events leading up to Ted meeting Tracy, which he described as an “easy” journey. It used a montage of moments from previous episodes without any new footage. Following the voiceover, the How I Met Your Mother credits rolled, drastically changing the fates of Ted, Tracy, and Robin.

HIMYM’s Alternate Ending Featured The Happier Outcome

The How I Met Your Mother alternate ending notably left out any indication that Tracy suffered from a terminal illness. It’s insinuated that she could have fallen sick but recovered at some point due to previous hints. Considering it wasn’t stated directly, Tracy was still alive in the alternate ending. Tracy’s death resulted in a lot of criticism, so it was no surprise that fans welcomed this version of the ending. Ted and Tracy presumably lived a long and happy life together which gave fans a pleasant conclusion.

Aside from Tracy’s fate, the alternate ending also heavily changed what happened to Robin. Since Tracy lived in this version, Ted wasn’t a widow, so there was no reason for him to reunite with Robin on a romantic level. It’s possible that she and Barney got back together when their lives settled down in the future. Even though the unaired ending of How I Met Your Mother might have seemed more fitting for the bigger picture, the creators felt justified in pointing Ted back in Robin’s direction. She may not have been the “Mother” but it was always clear that Robin always held a place in Ted’s heart.

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