The former Full House star, who died at age 65 earlier this month, provided the voice of future Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) throughout all nine seasons of the original show, which ended in 2014. Ahead of the new series’ Tuesday, January 18, premiere, showrunners Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker opened up about Hollywood’s major loss.
“That was something that was just so heartbreaking,” Aptaker exclusively told Us Weekly, noting that the show was wrapped months before news broke of Saget’s passing. “We only met Bob a few times, but [it’s different] for [executive producers] Pam [Fryman], Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas] — who worked with him dearly and just loved him so much.”
Berger — who created, wrote and produced the spinoff alongside Aptaker — added that those who worked with Saget on HIMYM had shared “incredible stories” about the Fuller House alum. “It’s so clear that he touched everyone he came in contact with so deeply,” she gushed.
Following the shocking news of Saget’s death, Aptaker told Us that the HIMYF team were “continuing to talk about” ways to honor the late comedian’s legacy in the Hulu reboot. When the series debuted on Tuesday, viewers noticed a title card dedicated to the former America’s Funniest Home Videos host at the end of the pilot.
Though his face never appeared in the original series, the Pennsylvania native’s voice was at the heart of the HIMYM story. In the new edition, Kim Cattrall puts her own spin on the role of narrator, but she appears on screen as the future version of Sophie (Hilary Duff).
“That was something very early on when we were sort of first conceiving the show and talking about ways that it would sort of honor the original and ways that it would stand on its own,” Aptaker explained. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if we literally flipped the script and instead of being on the kids and hearing the parent, we saw the parent and heard the children?’ So from the very, very beginning, long before we approached Kim, the plan was that you would see older Sophie and not the son.”
The team behind the scenes was “beyond excited” when they locked in the 65-year-old Sex and the City alum to take on the iconic role, and the casting move proved that they had to switch things up from the original series.
“Once you have Kim … you have to show Kim,” Berger told Us. “You could just feel [it] when she showed up, the excitement across the board on set was so palpable. And we think that viewers are also really, really going to love what she does with the role.”
Duff, 34, had her eye on Cattrall to join the cast from the start, but the creators thought convincing the Filthy Rich actress to sign on would be a long shot.
“[We were] like, ‘That’s the dream. We’ll never get her,'” Aptaker recalled. “And then we hear, like, ‘She’s interested, we’re talking about it. She loves it.’ It was truly one of those too-good-to-be-true situations.”
When the five-time Emmy nominee arrived on set to start filming, Duff and her HIMYF costars couldn’t help but snoop. “They weren’t shooting that day, but they all just came in and truly just geeked out and fangirled [and] fanboyed out over having her as part of the cast,” Aptaker told Us.
The spinoff was years in the making and finally got the green light from Hulu in April 2021. Early in the production process, Cattrall got “a crash course” about where her character would fit in.
“Obviously, her role pops up in little ways throughout the entire thing, so once she was on board, we were sort of like, ‘OK, here are all your scripts. Here’s the entire arc,'” Berger explained. “You know, she was so game to sort of dive in immediately and learn about the character. And once she and Hilary were in contact, there was such a natural connection there. … It’s just been a great match.”
New episodes of How I Met Your Father are available to stream on Hulu Tuesdays.
With reporting by Stephanie Webber