Jason Segel says he would be happy to return as Marshall Eriksen for How I Met Your Father.
Jason Segel has starred in some unforgettable movies and shows, but most would agree his most iconic show was How I Met Your Mother. There, he played goof with a heart of gold Marshall Eriksen, a character married to Lily Aldrin (played by Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran Alyson Hannigan). That show now has a spinoff on Hulu called How I Met Your Father, and when asked during an Entertainment Tonight interview about whether he’d ever appear on the newer show, Segel described the show’s producers by saying “those people changed my life” and that “I would do anything they ever asked me to.”
At first, the idea of Jason Segel or anyone else returning to this universe seemed like it would defeat the point of the show. Despite being a spinoff of the original series, How I Met Your Father follows an entirely different set of friends and focuses primarily on Hilary Duff’s character Sophie. This character is on a quest to find her soulmate (much like Ted was in How I Met Your Mother), but she is burdened by not knowing who her actual father is (in a narrative twist familiar to fans of Mama Mia!, her mother slept with too many men to easily determine the father).
However, as the episodes rolled on, the producers of How I Met Your Father grew increasingly comfortable with bringing in legacy characters for small cameos. For example, MCU star Cobie Smulders reprised her role as the reporter Robin Scherbatsky for an episode where she gave advice to Sophie at MacLaren’s, a bar quite familiar to fans of How I Met Your Mother. And since Neil Patrick Harris has now reprised his role as Barney Stinson for a quick cameo, it seems clear that there is plenty of room for Jason Segel to return to this franchise.
What is less clear is what Jason Segel’s character would be up to if the new show features him. For example, How I Met Your Father begins nine years after the finale of the original show, and the new show also features future segments set in the year 2050. The timeline of the original show and its own glimpses of the future means we know Segel’s character Marshall is now a New York State Supreme Court justice and lives somewhere new with Lily raising their children, so it might be difficult to explain how someone so busy with both work and family could suddenly intersect with the lives of these younger characters he has never met before.
Then again, Cobie Smulders’s cameo shows how simple this can be done: all Jason Segel’s character needs to do is be grabbing a drink somewhere that the new characters happen to be. And since Barney only popped up at the very end of the Season 2 premiere, it seems the show is setting him up to have a longer arc or even become a recurring character. That should comfort fans of Marshall Eriksen because it means if he ever does pop up on How I Met Your Father, it will probably be in a big way, but we’d really be happy to see him show up and say “lawyered” just one more time.