The Friends<\/i> Reunion Special Is Coming In 2021

After months (or, at this point, years) of rumors and anticipation, the Friends reunion of our dreams is going to become a reality. The cast was set to gather for a special on HBO’s streaming service, HBO Max, to honor the iconic sitcom’s 25th anniversary. There have been some bumps in the road to production, however, as the entertainment world has been on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. But as we wait for what will be Jennifer Aniston’s perfect behind-the-scenes Instagrams from the set, we’re laying out everything we know about the project so far.

It arrives May 27.

It’s official! The Friends reunion, called “The One Where They Get Back Together,” starts streaming on HBO Max on Thursday, May 27. We just got our first teaser for the special event, too, teasing the cast walking arm in arm.

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Filming has finished.

The Friends reunion special has completed filming. The sitcom’s official Instagram account confirmed the news in a recent post.

“That’s a wrap! 🎬 Could we BE anymore excited!?” the caption read below a photo of the show’s iconic marquee. “Friends: The Reunion is coming to @hbomax.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNgYJgoHWZm/

A post shared by Friends (@friends)

Sources originally told Deadline that shooting would begin the week of April 5 in Los Angeles. There’s no word yet on a release date though.

The news arrives after Matthew Perry previously tweeted that the special would air in March.

All the stars are coming back.

Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler), and David Schwimmer (Ross) will reunite at the original Friends soundstage—Stage 24, at the Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank—to film. All six stars will also executive produce.

The Late Late Show writer Ben Winston will direct. He’s also an executive producer, along with Friends EPs Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane; and Emma Conway and James Longman.

When the reunion news was announced, the leads all shared the same photo and caption on Instagram—”It’s happening”—and tagged each other. (Good thing Aniston and Perry are now on the app.) The image, shot by Mark Seliger, is from the May 18, 1995 issue of Rolling Stone.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B82FMKcBKHL/

A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston)

The reunion special is NOT a new Friends episode.

The main cast will reunite, revisit the set, have surprises, and share behind-the-scenes footage, but they won’t be portraying their original characters. They’ll simply be appearing as themselves.

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.”

Production had been delayed.

The project was initially slated to film on March 23 and 24, 2020 in Burbank, but was “delayed until at least May,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Then, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt explained the desire to have the cast reunite in-person, rather than virtually. “We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together,” he said.

There were hopes that production would begin in the summer, but it was “pushed back indefinitely” due to the pandemic, according to Entertainment Weekly.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8RzuYbh3BR/

A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston)

During a phone interview with Deadline, Jennifer Aniston reacted to the postponement and said, “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.”

“Unfortunately it’s very sad that we had to move it again,” Aniston continued. “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.”

David Schwimmer had previously expressed his hope that the reunion would take place in 2020, as he told 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.” He continued, “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.”

A mini reunion went down at the 2020 Emmys.

Although none of the male cast members made appearances, the ladies of Friends, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow, all appeared together on-screen during last night’s Emmys. While Aniston was speaking to host Jimmy Kimmel, her “roommates” Cox and Kudrow joined her. “We’ve been living together since 1994,” Aniston quipped.

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