Guys—they were just on a break. The Friends reunion, which has been rumored practically ever since the purple door with the yellow frame on it shut for the last time, is officially, really happening. All six Friends stars will reunite for an unscripted special for HBO Max.
Both HBO Max and the cast are being pretty hush-hush about the reunion special. Here’s every detail we know so far.
Who’s coming back:
According to a press release from HBO Max, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer have all committed to reprising their roles in a new special, which will be executive produced by Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, as well as original Friends producer Kevin Bright. They’ll shoot on the original Friends soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, California. Ben Winston, best known for his work on The Late Late Show With James Corden, will direct as well as executive produce. What is this? All nine Friends Thanksgiving episodes rolled into one? Because we’re feeling pretty grateful.
The release date:
It was delayed because of the coronavirus. WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt gave an update on premiere date on May 11. “At first we thought shows will be delayed for a month or two at the most, and now it seems like it’s going to be far longer than that,” he told Variety. “We’re holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer, if the stars align and hopefully we can get back into production. We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together, and we didn’t want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms.”
On July 6, Schwimmer gave Entertainment Tonight an update on when the cast hopes to be able to film the special. “I can tell you that we are hoping to shoot [the reunion] in August, in mid-August, but honestly, we will do it when it’s safe,” he told ET. “There has always been a hope that a component of that reunion show will have a live audience, which makes the whole thing really tricky. We are obviously not going to risk anyone’s health by doing this.”
On August 7, Aniston confirmed the long-awaited Friends reunion has been postponed once again due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. She told Deadline the delay is “very sad,” but promised fans it’ll “be even more exciting and more fun” when it does happen.
“Unfortunately it’s very sad that we had to move it again,” she said. “It was, ‘How do we do this with live audiences?’ This is not a safe time. Period. That’s the bottom line. It’s not a safe time to do it.”
However, Aniston is looking at the bright side and staying optimistic. “It’s going to be super,” she added. “I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we’re not going anywhere. You’re never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You’re stuck with us for life, guys.”
In November 2020, Perry confirmed the Friends reunion will be taping in March 2021. “Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March,” he tweeted. “Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way I like it!”
How they made it happen:
It sounds as though the actors got plenty of “perks,” if you will. Variety reports that a source claims all six performers will be paid at least $2.5 million each for their work. (LET JENNIFER HAVE ANYTHING SHE WANTS.)
Break out the foosball table, the holiday armadillo, the traditional English trifle, and the smelly cats. This is really happening.