After ten years of being there for us, Friends left our screens in 2004 – leaving a Central Perk shaped hole in our hearts – and we’re still not over it.
We’re still deeply invested in Rachel and Ross’ tumultuous relationship, we’ve never given up hope on Parker (Alec Baldwin) coming back into our lives, and we can’t believe how quickly the Friends children have grown up. Are we the only ones confused by our feelings for Ben now that he’s grown up and starring in Riverdale?
It’s hardly surprising therefore that when a Friends reunion was finally announced, the news pretty much broke the internet.
How was the Friends reunion announced?
The Friends reunion was announced with an Instagram post shared by all six cast members across their platforms. The photograph, a throwback 1995 Rolling Stone cover shot by Mark Seliger of all six characters posing in a car, was captioned: ‘It’s happening…’ and was posted on 21 February 2020.
What is the Friends reunion?
The Friends reunion was initially suspected to be a mini-series featuring the core six characters, but it has since been revealed that it will actually be a one episode special. The one-off unscripted reunion episode on HBO Max will reportedly not see the actors resume their roles, but will instead see the stars look back and reflect on the show’s best and most famous moments.
‘This reunion has been 18 months in the making’, a source reportedly told The Sun. ‘Cast and crew have been made to sign rigid non-disclosure agreements to keep everything as fresh and exciting as possible. It took a long time to convince Matthew and Jennifer in particular to get on board. But once these two were signed up, things moved pretty quickly.’
When is the Friends reunion coming out?
The Friends reboot was initially due to air on HBO Max in 2020, but due to the coronavirus outbreak the production was delayed. It is now reported to be airing this year, with reports that filming has already started.
Matthew Perry took to Twitter in November 2020 to give an update on the reunion’s ETA, reassuring fans that the reboot would be airing in March 2021.
‘Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March,’ he posted. ‘Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way I like it!’
Has the Friends reunion been cancelled?
The Friends reunion has not been cancelled. The speculation around its cancellation came from the coronavirus forcing it to be delayed, but stars have been quick to clear up confusion and to reassure fans that the reboot is still officially happening.
What has the cast said about the Friends reunion?
Jennifer Aniston, via Deadline
‘It’s going to be super. You know what? This has also given us more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been. So 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.’
David Schwimmer, via Entertainment Weekly
‘We’re hoping it will be able to convene and shoot it in August, but the truth is, we’ll do it when we all determine it’s safe to do so. There’s no question we want to do it and it’s going to happen. It’s just really a question of when will be the safest time to do it.’
Lisa Kudrow, via The Sunday Times
‘No audience has seen us together since the show was over. We will reminisce, talk about what was going on behind the scenes. It’s not us playing our characters. It’s not an episode. It’s not scripted. It’s six of us coming together for the first time in I don’t know how long.
‘I think that I remember things, but then I talk to Matt [LeBlanc] or Jennifer [Aniston], and they remember everything. It’s really fun.’
Courteney Cox, via Hiking with Kevin
‘We’re going to have the best time. It’s going to be great. We really haven’t all done that and actually sat there and talked about and reminisced about this incredible experience that we had. It’s going be fantastic.’
Matt Le Blanc, via The Kelly Clarkson Show
‘We got the band back together without the instruments. It’s the six of us together talking about the good old days.’
Matthew Perry, via Twitter
‘Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March. Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way I like it!’
How much will the cast make in the Friends reunion?
It is not known exactly how much the cast of Friends will each make for the reunion episode, but according to sources via The Hollywood Reporter, the fees were negotiated collectively and each cast member is thought to be earning between $2.5 million and $3 million.
Friends reunion trailer
The cast is yet to release an official trailer for the reunion, but we’re sure sure that the core six will post one to their Instagram accounts as soon as it’s out.
‘Why a Friends reunion won’t work without one crucial ingredient’
Words by Michelle Davies
The news that a Friends reunion is definitely happening has got everyone in a tizz. Could we be any more excited? Actually, no, says Michelle Davies, who once appeared on the show (series 9, episode 21) and spent time on set during its heyday
‘After weeks of teasing from Jennifer Aniston – first when she broke the internet with her Instagram debut snap of the six cast members hanging out, and then with her ‘we’re in talks’ comment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show– it appears a Friends reunion is no longer just a pipe dream for the show’s millions of multi-generational fans.
According to breaking reports, Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow are close to agreeing a deal that will see them reunite for HBO Max, the new streaming service that has snaffled the coveted rights to all 236 episodes of the show from Netflix.
Except it won’t be The One Where Friends Reunite episode people are hoping for. Rather than a reboot, the reunion show looks set to be a one-off stroll down memory lane with the cast discussing their Friends experience with its creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane. But while the internet now sags under the weight of collective disappointment, I for one am not surprised or even disappointed they’ve stepped back from producing Friends 2.0. Because it will take more than just getting the six principle stars back together to make it a success – it would need the entire, original backstage crew reassembled as well to make it work.
I say this as someone who was incredibly lucky to have spent time on the Friends set. My first visit was in 2002 when, along with a group of writers that included Cold Feet creator Mike Bullen, I spent a week behind the scenes watching how the show was put together for the magazine I worked on at the time. The following year I was invited to return, this time to experience what it was like being an extra (‘my’ episode is The One With The Fertility Test in series nine and, yes, I still squeal very loudly every time I watch it.)
The one thing I took away from both my visits – other than the fact Matthew Perry smelled divinely of soap and musk, like a scrubbed meadow, which I discovered when I accidentally ploughed into him at the end of my scene – was what a collaborative effort it was and I don’t mean just between the six leads. Every person working on the show was a vital cog in its success, from writers down to runners. Between takes there would be frequent hugging and back-slaps as the cast and crew shared private jokes, real games would be played on Joey and Chandler’s foosball table and Aniston and co – who bear in mind were the biggest TV stars in the world at the time, earning $1million each per episode – all joined in. ‘Everyone here works as family,’ prop master Marjorie Coster told me. (She and Lisa Kudrow gave birth to their sons on the same day in the same LA hospital and both boys were running amok in the studio while I was there). ‘That’s what makes the show so good.
I suspect it’s that crucial ingredient which is stopping Crane and Kauffman going full throttle on writing new Friends material. If they can’t rehire everyone who originally worked on the show to recreate that happy studio ambience, there’s a real danger the onscreen sparkle won’t materialise either second time around. Indeed, when discussing a possible reunion during a Tribeca TV Festival panel to mark the show’s 25th anniversary in September, Kauffman remarked that one reason for not doing it was ‘it’s not going to beat what we did’.
There’s also the issue of what to do about the Friends set that once occupied Stage 24 on the Warner Bros lot. Yes, it could easily be recreated elsewhere, but let’s not forget that Monica and Chandler gave up her apartment when they moved to the suburbs with their newborn twins and Joey gave up his when he moved to LA (for the eponymous spin-off series that was so bad let’s not talk about it). If the show did return, it really wouldn’t be the same if the two apartments across the hall weren’t part of it.
I’m not alone in thinking a reunion would be a bad idea either. James Michael Tyler, who starred as Central Perk’s Gunther across all ten seasons and who tutored me in how to be a good extra, revealing that when extras appear to be talking in the back of a scene what they’re actually doing is silently mouthing the phrase ‘apples and pears’ over and over, also doesn’t want Friends to return, despite having the most to gain career-wise. ‘I don’t know if a reboot would have the same weight or quality,’ he said in a recent interview. ‘Why mess with perfection?’
My sentiments exactly.’
We will continue to update this story.
Could we BE any more excited?