Are you ready for a real and true Friends reunion special? According to Matthew Perry (who famously played Chandler Bing), the long-awaited special will be filmed in March 2021.
The live production was originally scheduled to happen in March of 2020, right at the start of the Hollywood lockdown. The Friends reunion special was part of Friends officially leaving Netflix for HBO Max in 2020. This was a big move for HBO Max. Their plans began with a $425 million dollar bidding war between the streaming services. With the 236 episodes moving to HBO Max, WarnerMedia made plans to launch with a brand new Friends reunion special to draw people in. The company managed to get all six of the main cast members together, reportedly paying them $2.5 million each.
You could say WarnerMedia was committed to making this a grand event for their new service. The last new episode of Friends happened in May of 2004, and its fanbase has only grown over the years. The promise of a Friends reunion filmed in front of a live audience is sure to bring in new subscribers to check out their offerings.
With so much invested, many thought the production would have picked up again much sooner. The pandemic has popularized live video chat cast reunions. Many reporters have asked the cast and company why this wasn’t an option for Friends, but the cast remained adamant that they had something particular planned.
A live audience was always part of how they saw the Friends reunion happening. The term “reunion special” gets thrown around a fair amount. Before 2020, we’ve often seen casts get together on panels. There have been plenty of times cast members have done interviews together or been seen having dinner and this has been called a reunion. The Friends cast clearly has something more specific in mind from their reunion special.
David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller, told Entertainment Tonight that, “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.”
As the year has gone on, there have been many hopeful dates set. It was strongly believed that the Friends reunion delay would only be until the summer. Frequent updates promised June, July, and then August. Of course, with the Hollywood lockdown, this has become standard fare as movie theaters and television studios navigate business through COVID-19.
This hasn’t dampened Jennifer Aniston’s enthusiasm for the project. If you’ve ever read an interview with her, you may have noticed she is always a glass-half-full kind of person. When Deadline interviewed her about the delay, she 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.” She added that the longevity of the show and the size of its fanbase means they can pretty much do a Friends reunion whenever they’re ready to. “You’re never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You’re stuck with us for life guys.”