Trilogy Time

HIMYM episode 7x20 (156)

101700 d1056b
First aired:
April 9, 2012
Pamela Fryman
Kourtney Kang
Barney's Blog

Images (21)

Ted, Marshall and Barney embark on another "trilogy time," where they get together every three years to watch the "Star Wars" trilogy and envision what their lives will be like in another three years. Meanwhile Barney and Quinn move in together.


The episode starts with a man observing Barney from his window, confused as to why Barney comes out of his apartment at 8:00 pm every night, walks seven paces and smiles. It turns out that Barney does this to pass gas, as he can't to do it in his apartment anymore, now that he and Quinn are living together. Although Quinn has sold all of her stuff because Barney wants his apartment as it is, she wants to use her own coffee mugs instead of his, which Barney doesn't approve of. He tells her that he has to assert his dominance as a man in his apartment, which results in a fight between them. He finds the gang unsympathetic at his situation, but as he is about to leave Ted's new apartment, Ted stops him for another "Trilogy Time", in which they watch the original Star Wars trilogy.

The tradition started in 2000, when Ted and Marshall were in Wesleyan. They were supposed to study for their economics final, however Ted proposes that they watch the Star Wars trilogy instead. They make a pact to watch it every three years, since according to Marshall, if one didn't watch the trilogy at least once every three years, the dark side wins. Barney is later included in this pact. (Ted and Marshall both get 0's on their economics finals).

With every "Trilogy Time", the guys predict their future for the next three years:

  • Marshall is sporting a mustache, a successful lawyer, settled in with Lily, with Lily always being pregnant, since he wants a large family.
  • Ted is a successful architect, and is with a girl who looks like Robin, has a name starting with R, and is from another country.
  • Barney is always with a new girl.

However, the future that Ted and Marshall predict for themselves never turns out to be true.

In 2012, Ted thinks that there is something wrong with him, as he still hasn't settled down with someone. He predicts the future for 2015, in which he is still living alone, while Marshall and Lily are happy with a large family, Robin has married someone else, and Barney is with a new girl. However, Barney doesn't agree with what Ted has predicted for him, saying that for first time in his life, he doesn't want to be with some random girl in three years, and wants to still be with Quinn in the future. He then leaves to apologize to her, by smashing his own mugs, and also tells her that he plans on being with her for a long time. The two later end up passing gas in front of each other.

Meanwhile, Marshall comforts Ted, saying that he has a good feeling about Ted's life in 2015. In a flash forward to 2015, Marshall and Barney set up for another "Trilogy Time." Though Barney complains that Ted is breaking their tradition by bringing a girl, he and Marshall make an exception because Ted really loves the girl, who is revealed to be his infant daughter Penny.


  • Marshall in 2003 has not yet been accepted by a law school. He is attending law school in 2005 in the Pilot, and has graduated and is awaiting the results of his bar exam in 2007's Spoiler Alert​​.
  • The 2006 marathon occurs during Where Were We?​​, while Marshall is miserable after he and Lily break up.
  • Marshall's interest in environmental law is depicted in many episodes starting from Life Among the Gorillas.
  • Barney wants "things to stay exactly the same." He is the only member of the gang who never changes homes or jobs, and is very upset when he thinks in Dowisetrepla​​ that Marshall and Lily will divorce.
  • The Bracket​​ depicts Barney's interest in decoupage.
  • Ted and Marshall repeatedly watch Star Wars in Do I Know You?
  • Lily never attends the guys' movie marathons. The Front Porch​​ and Double Date establish her disinterest in Star Wars. She and Marshall do have a film tradition of their own, as depicted in Desperation Day​​.
  • Lily says in Robin 101​​ that Marshall says that he cannot grow a mustache. His mustache in his dream is what he wishes he could have in the future.
  • Barney tells Quinn he does not drink coffee at home. This is first alluded to in World's Greatest Couple​​ when Barney pours the pot of coffee Lily makes down the drain.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Unpause shows that Robin's family is "super rich."
  • Voice-recognition systems are still unreliable in 2030, based on Last Forever - Part Two.
  • Trilogy time in 2018: Ted and Tracy still live together as an unmarried couple and have two kids, Luke who is 1 and Penny who is 3. Barney and Robin have been divorced for 2 years; Robin is estranged from the group though she meets Lily in between and is still traveling and and working as a news anchor, living her dream. Marshall became a judge in Queens and he and Lily have three children: Marvin is 6, Daisy is 4 and their third child is 1. Ted, Lily, and Marshall and all celebrated their 40th birthdays.
  • Trilogy time in 2021: Ted has been married to Tracy for 1 year. Penny is 6 and Luke is 4. Marshall is a bald State Supreme Court Judge. Marvin is 9, Daisy is 7 and their third child is 4. Robin is still living out her dream as an anchor in world wide news and still travels the world. Barney pretends to be on his deathbed and pulls the Meatball Sub prank on Marshall. Barney's daughter Ellie is 1.
  • Trilogy Time 2024: Tracy dies of an undisclosed fatal illness at age 39 or 40. Penny is 9 and Luke is 7. Marvin is 12, Daisy is 10, and the unnamed Eriksen child is 7. Ellie is 4.
  • Trilogy Time 2027: 50th anniversary of the first Star Wars movie. While not dating, Robin is  spending a lot of time at Ted's place  and taking Penny and Luke on outings.
  • Trilogy Time 2030: Ted is coming to terms with Tracy's passing. Penny is 15 and Luke is 13. Marvin Eriksen, age 18, is a freshman at Wesleyan. Daisy is 16 and the unnamed third Eriksen kid is 13. Ellie is 10. Robin has celebrated her 50th birthday. Ted tells Penny and Luke about how he met Tracy. Ted and Robin become a couple again.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Trilogy Time images.

Memorable Quotes

Marshall: Where is Robin?
Future Ted: In the summer of 2009, Barney and Robin were secretly dating.
Ted: Oh, Barney said she's taking some extension class on how to decoupage and Barney's taking a different decoupage class in the same building- that's why they shared a cab that one time.
Future Ted: We were idiots.
Marshall: Wait a minute. You're saying that Barney Stinson is at a decoupage class? That means we can watch Star Wars on his giant TV!

Marshall: Three years from now briefcase, lawyer, knighthood, mustache, all that stuff from before.
Ted: Congratulations, bro.
Marshall: And congratulations to you too, Ted, for locking this down (winks).
Robin: You know, it's weird, I never thought I would get married, but you talked me into it. Or rather, banged me into it. You're so good in bed, ooh.
Ted and Marshall having dreams on how their lives will be in year 2009.

Ted: Marshall, you want to watch Star Wars?
Marshall: No, can do, old bean! You see, we're up on the Cape living the idyllic family lifestyle that you've always dreamed of.
Lily: Oh, and I'm pregnant with baby number five!
Ted: But baby number four isn't even out yet.
Marshall: I'm just that good!!!

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • The same calendar is on the wall by the front door through all of the fantasies and real-life segments.
  • When Robin plays the bass guitar in Ted's first fantasy, the music is unrelated with what she is actually playing (she doesn't even change notes with her left hand). But as this is a fantasy the men are having, and none of them know how to play bass, they just imagine it'll be done correctly when they get to it like in Marshall and Lily's imagining of playing Bridge on their future front porch.
  • Robin says "That's why I have never thrown anything out for any relationship ever." This is untrue as she gave away her dogs for Ted in Stuff​​​ as he felt uncomfortable.
    • She may have been making that mistake for the sake of the joke.
  • In Ted's depressing imagination of what 2015 will be like, Robin is seen throwing the phone off of Marshall's boat. It lands in the water with a very audible splash. Despite this, Ted can still hear them laughing.
    • Due to the fact that this is just his imagination, and exaggerated to be depressing, it may just be that the laughing is stuck in his head.
  • Ted and Marshall go to Barney's apartment to watch Star Wars because they think he's at decoupage class. However they knock on his door even though they think he's not there.
  • In Ted's vision of 2006 when "Rhiannon" speaks French, she says, "Et aussi maintenant, je suis français." She should have said "française", since that's the feminine form, whereas "français" is the masculine form.
  • Barney is holding a cup when he asks Quinn a question. On the next shot, when she answers, he is no longer holding a cup.
  • Ted is briefly seen wearing a wedding ring during the flashforward to 2015, although the series finale reveals he had not yet been married until 2020. This may, however, simply be to keep this a secret from the viewers and the rest of the cast.
    • Though he could be wearing it because he already proposed even if they postponed the wedding.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Ted, Marshall and Barney watched the Star Wars trilogy.
  • In 2015, Barney whispers to Ted's daughter that Han shot first, referencing the controversial revision made to a scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
  • The newspapers in the trilogy time predictions have Al Gore, Howard Dean, and Dennis Kucinich as US presidents, in 2003, 2006, and 2009, respectively while in the 2015 prediction, George W Bush would serve a third term.
  • In 2009, Robin hides from Ted and Marshall in Barney's Stormtrooper costume.
  • A girl Ted is with in three years time is named after Rhiannon, a song by Fleetwood Mac.
  • Barney's catchphrase in this episode is Whassup? which was used in a Budweiser beer commercial that originally ran from 1999-2001.
  • According to his uniform and medal ribbons in his fantasy, Marshall has, in addition to induction into the Order of the British Empire, been made the honorary colonel of a regiment; possible the Army Legal Services Branch. However, there is no evidence to suggest he is a knight of any sort, and he is in fact wearing the wrong Order of the British Empire ribbon; a military, not civilian one. It could, however, be that he served in the Army Legal Services Branch at some point in the past, though this is unlikely due to his American citizen status.
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released in December of 2015, making the Trilogy Time depicted in 2015 on the show more special, as they were probably viewing the films to prepare for the new one.
  • Carrie Fisher dies in 2016, so the viewing in 2018 would be poignant, as it is the first time since her passing.
  • In 2015, Marshall was trying to talk to a Smart TV to request for the Star Wars trillogy.  Coincidentally in the same year, Apple released a version of AppleTV that features Siri, its voice assistant where the user speaks through the remote and not to the TV directly.  


The music played when the years flash up on screen between flashbacks is:

  • "Victory Quest" by John Powell

Other Notes

  • This episode marks the first appearance of Ted's daughter outside of the 2030 framing sequence.
  • On the CBS version, at the start of the episode, when Barney walks out, the back heel of a woman walking past with a yellow umbrella can be seen.
  • On the 2015 flash forward Barney is hiding his hand from the camera, according to the episode's director this was purposely done so that the audience wouldn't know whether he was married or not, which he was, to Robin.



Featuring an interview with Chris Elliott.


  • This episode was viewed by 8.00 million people. [1]
  • Donna Bowman of the A.V. Club gave the episode a B+. [2]
  • Chris O'Hara of TV Fanatic gave the episode 5/5. He praised Kourtney Kang, saying that she "did very well to bring us back from the dark side of countless weeks with no new episodes". [3]
  • Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10. [4]
  • Ethan Alter of Television Without Pity gave the episode a C+. [5]
  • Michelle Profis of Entertainment Weekly said the episode's final scene opened potential for further material late in the series. [6]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7 out of 10 stars. "...forward story-telling this time ... 'And they never saw her again!' "


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