EXCLUSIVE: Four days after the How I Met Your Mother series finale, fans of the show are still reeling from the controversial ending that saw the mother die, Robin and Barney divorce and Ted end up with Robin, leaving viewers stunned. Reaction has been overwhelming, with the HIMYM finale dividing fans and instantly becoming one of the most debated series closers ever, with fans starting a petition to have the ending changed. They may get their wish.

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How I Met Your MotherI have learned that the controversial sequence was not the only conclusion the HIMYM writers considered. I hear creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas also contemplated an alternate ending, which will be included in HIMYM‘s upcoming DVD set. I hear the alternate ending does not involve additional footage but rather a different editing of the episode. HIMYM producers and studio 20th Century Fox TV would not comment on any specifics of the alternate closing, but a source described it as a “happy ending.” UPDATE: Bays confirmed our news on Twitter. “16 days ago today we were in the HIMYM edit room, trying to decide between two very different endings.  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. We’re going to include that version on the Complete Series DVD as an alternate finale to How I Met Your Mother.”

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himymrobinBased on what we saw in the existing finale, it could only be re-cut in a couple of ways. If the producers don’t keep the story of Ted hooking up with Robin, the alternatives are for Ted to stay with the mother or end up alone. A fan-made montage circulated on the web this week edited the episode to create an alternate ending, in which Ted sees the yellow umbrella, meets Tracy McConnell, a train whizzes by and the screen fades to black to voice-over, “and that, kids, is how I met your mother.” The video went viral before 20th TV shut it down over rights issues. If Bays and Thomas’ alternate ending is “happier” than the current one, one could assume that it involves the mother staying alive and in Ted’s life, maybe in the vein of what the fan suggested.

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Bays and Thomas went with the ending they had been plotting since the beginning as the scene in the finale with Ted’s kids who encourage him to go after Aunt Robin following their mother’s death was filmed back in Season 2. It is understandable that they would have had second thoughts 7 1/2 years later. Back in Season 2, the Tracy character was just an outline on a page while Robin felt like the love of Ted’s life, despite being ruled out as the mother in the pilot episode. But as she was introduced in last year’s finale, Tracy came to life. Over the past season, fans got to know her and got invested in her and Ted ending up together. Ultimately, the original plan prevailed. Now we’ll get to see the alternative.