“Disappointed.” “Betrayed.” “Violated.” Not words you’d usually attribute to a beloved sitcom, but that was the general consensus among fans following the series finale of How I Met Your Mother this past March. The downer of an ending infuriated so many people and caused such a Lost-ian uproar that co-creator Carter Bays tweeted, “If you didn’t like the finale, I guess that happens. We tried something and it didn’t connect with you. I hope we’re still friends.” However, Bays did reveal that HIMYM had two different endings, and that the alternate conclusion would be featured on the How I Met Your Mother: The Whole Story, Seasons 1-9 DVD set. With the DVDs due out later this month, that much-anticipated deleted scene has arrived (via BuzzFeed).
The main difference between the actual ending and the alternate ending – Spoilers ahead! – is that Ted Mosby’s wife Tracy McConnell, the titular “Mother,” doesn’t pass away from a terminal illness in this more upbeat version that plays on the happenstance of previous seasons. Even the cold manner in which the show reveals Tracy’s death – a mere sentence after nine seasons of building up the relationship – was criticized by fans. That’s not an issue here. In this ending, the widowed Ted Mosby doesn’t wind up with the now-divorced Robin Scherbatsky; partly because Ted isn’t widowed, partly because Robin stays married to Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson. In short, no new footage but less divorce, less death, and more closure from the narration provided by Bob Saget.
While this ending will likely satisfy HIMYM fans that complained about the original ending, it also opens the door for criticism from people wondering how this alternate end was left on the cutting room floor. “16 days ago today we were in the HIMYM edit room, trying to decide between two very different endings,” Bays explained of his decision back in April. “We only shot one script, but through edit room magic we had two possible outcomes for the series. We chose the ending we chose and we stand by it. But we loved the other version too.”