It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the world was preoccupied with one couple entirely: Ross and Rachel. In those days, Friends was watched with the kind of reverence you’d expect of a religious ceremony: outfits were committed to one’s personal mood board, hairstyles were scrutinised and attempted at home, character arcs were celebrated or bemoaned, and the very stars who played the six key figures in Friends soon found themselves hailed as icons in pop culture.
As numerous TV series and movies of yester-year have come under the discerning eye of directors to be rebooted for the modern age, fans have continued to voice their demand for a Friends reunion. It seems all anyone has wanted is to see Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow reunite once again on screen. But while anyone would have likely thought such a thing to be wishful thinking, it seems our prayers have been answered as HBO Max announced the cast will, in fact, return for a one-off episode.
As Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max, revealed in the announcement: “Guess you could call this one where they all got back together.” He went on to add: “I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends – and audiences – gathered together in real-time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.”
As the countdown fast approaches for the highly-anticipated reunion, here’s everything we know so far about the one-off episode and the stars involved.
It will be filmed on its original stage
The reunion episode will be taped in Stage 24 on the famed Warner Bros lot in Burbank, California, where Friends was filmed in its entirety. It’s been reported that Ben Winston, the major British producer behind James Corden’s Late Late Show, will direct the episode, while series creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman will also be involved.
Fans have already been given their first look at the new design of Monica’s apartment, and the nostalgia is real. Weirdly enough, it feels like no time has passed since Friends was on our TV screens, and for some people it never really left.
Though it won’t be a new episode, it will reunite the iconic characters
Ok, so we’d love for it to be a new season landing on our screens, but hey, we’ll take what we can get. The episode won’t be a new, in-universe episode of Friends as many had expected, but rather will serve as a retrospective that reunites the stars and producers behind the hit television series as they all look back at its impressive ten-year run.
As HBO Max explained in a statement, “Lastly, in order to avoid any misunderstanding about what this special is, we want to make it very clear that this is not a new, original episode of the series. The cast will be appearing as themselves, not as their beloved characters.”
Recently, in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Courtney Cox revealed that the reunion was an incredibly emotional one to film. “It was so unbelievable, so emotional,” she told the talk-show host. “It’s an unscripted reunion and we got to be on Stage 24 for the first time all of us in, I forget how many years. 15 years? 17 years?”
She added, “It was great. It was really fun. We had a lot of special surprises – and it was fantastic. It really was.”
It seems the reunion will likely see the cast reminisce on their past and reveal some interesting tidbits that we never knew about. For instance, Cox said in her interview that the opening credits sequence (the one shot in the water fountain) went for hours. “We were in that fountain for a long time,” she revealed. “Somebody thought that would just be really fun, and let me tell you what happens: it’s not fun to be dancing in a fountain for hours and hours.”
She went on to add: “I remember Matthew Perry saying at one point – and we didn’t know each other that well at that point – but I remember, and this is so Matthew, but he was like, ‘can’t remember a time that I wasn’t in this fountain.’”
Currently, there’s no release date set for the upcoming reunion special, however it will air on HBO Max.