It’s been almost 16 years since Friends aired its series finale—“The Last One Part 2.” The popular television series thrived for ten seasons until the adventure ended in 2004. As time passed since the end, there was one question that often popped up to the cast and crew: will Friends ever come back? After shutting down possibilities of reboots, sequels, and movies for years, you could say that they were on a break as a Friends reunion special was just announced to air sometime in May 2020.
Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman that premiered in 1994. The show followed six friends living in Manhattan as they went through good and bad times together: the rich Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) trying to make a new life for herself, the smart Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) with not much luck in love, the obsessive “mom” of the group Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), the comedic and awkward Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), the odd but lovable Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), and the childish (but sweet) playboy with a love for food Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc). Friends brought viewers along on these characters’ daily lives to feel the same happiness, sadness, love, and heartbreak. It was a chance to follow this comical and curious friend group as they struggle through their love lives, career aspirations, and all the other experiences that come with being an adult trying to survive in New York City.
After more than a decade, WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max will give fans of Friends what they have long been waiting for. All six main cast members will reunite for one unscripted special of the sitcom directed by Ben Winston.
“Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together—we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire ‘Friends’ library,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, in a statement.
For the Friends reunion special, the six cast members posted the same picture on their Instagram accounts—except for LeBlanc who jokingly posted a photo of the M*A*S*H cast—with the caption “It’s happening…,” sparking much excitement from other celebrities and fans all over the comment sections.
The cast members will reunite in Burbank on Stage 24, their original soundstage in the Warner Bros. Studio lot for the special, which they are calling “a celebration of the show.” Aniston, Schwimmer, Cox, Perry, Kudrow, and LeBlanc will receive at least US$2.5 million each (more than double their per-episode pay for the original series in seasons 9 and 10) for their roles in the reunion special.
Friends has been in people’s lives for a long time—whether you followed from the beginning or after the end. It’s a popular franchise that is always fun to revisit, which is why a reunion special like this has been long-awaited and so highly anticipated. The ‘goodbye’ at the end of ten seasons was the end of an era shared by cast, crew, and fans, but to see them all together again after 16 years is sure to bring back that joy of nostalgia—a chance to hopefully see that yellow frame hanging on the door once more.
“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,” said Reilly, as he spoke about the show.
There is no official release date yet for the tentatively named reunion “The One Where They All Got Back Together,” but Friends and its special will be there for you on HBO Max when the streaming service launches in May 2020.