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Friends reunion special: everything you need to know about the delayed television series

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The rumours are true, a Friends reunion special is in the works at HBO Max, but because of the escalating coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be coming as soon as you might have been hoping. 

It’s been more than 25 years since Friends first debuted on television and captured hearts and minds all over the world. 

Naturally, fans have been clamouring for a reunion, and the show’s stars are constantly fuelling the fire by hanging out with each other and hinting at future projects. 

Jennifer Aniston broke the internet in October when she Instagrammed herself with her very famous former colleagues, while a simple Instagram snap of Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry getting lunch in early November made everyone collectively lose their minds.

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Finally, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that a special episode is in the works at HBO Max. But the trade publication revealed on 19 March 2020 that production on the reunion was being halted because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that filming on the reunion special has been paused. The episode was due to begin production on a two day schedule on 23 March in Los Angeles. But on 19 March filming was delayed until May at the very earliest. Given the changing nature of the pandemic, there is no word on when, exactly, production will resume. 

Monica and Rachel from Friends
The Friends reunion has been put on hold because of coronavirus.

Friends isn’t the only show to be delayed because of the pandemic. The Morning Show, The Witcher, the new The Lord Of The Rings and The Handmaid’s Tale have all been delayed alongside Friends

Even though we don’t know when, exactly, production on the Friends reunion special will recommence, we still have some details about the upcoming episode. Here is everything else we know about the Friends reunion special so far. 

Are the original cast returning for the Friends reunion special?

Ross and Rachel in Friends

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the original cast are all on board. 

“Talks are currently underway for an unscripted reunion special that would feature Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer,” The Hollywood Reporter noted. Also in talks to return are creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman. 

Variety has reported that production will take place on the original Friends soundstage at Warner Bros studios in Los Angeles, and each of the cast members will receive at least a $2.5 million pay cheque for their involvement. 

What have the original cast said about the Friends reunion special? 

Friends: Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow together.

In October, Aniston appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and spoke about the prospect of reuniting with her Friends family. “Listen, we would love for there to be something, but we don’t know what that something is,” she said. “We’re just trying. We’re working on something.”

In June, she said: “The girls would do it and the boys would do it, I’m sure. Listen, anything can happen.”

This, even though Kaufman once told Rolling Stone that there would never be a Friends reunion. “There are several reasons,” she said. “One, the show is about a time in your life when your friends are your family. It’s not that time anymore. All we’d be doing is putting those six actors back together, but the heart of the show would be gone. Two, I don’t know what good it does us. The show is doing just fine, people love it. [A reunion] could only disappoint. “The One Where Everyone’s Disappointed.” 

Where would the Friends reunion special air? 

Friends cast
Friends: the cast all together.

The Friends reunion special is in the works at HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform. It’s this platform that is going to play host to Friends in the future in the US. Don’t worry: in the UK, Netflix will still hold the rights to Friends for the foreseeable future

HBO Max is slated to launch in early 2020 with a pretty packed schedule.

In terms of original content, HBO Max will have a brace of series including the Gossip Girl reboot, a crime series called Tokyo Vice starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe, the Lupita Nyong’o-led adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, an adaptation of Emily St John Mandel’s bestselling novel Station Eleven starring Mackenzie Davis and Himesh Patel, as well as – our particular favourite – a limited series based on Madeleine Miller’s Circe. Phew.  

From the back catalogue, the streaming service will have the full archives of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, The West Wing, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, South Park, Pretty Little Liars, Sesame Street and the entire Studio Ghibli library. 

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What is the release date of the Friends reunion special?

No release date has been announced yet. Given that production has now been delayed, and HBO Max doesn’t launch until later this year, audiences won’t be getting the episode for a while, unfortunately. 

Images: Friends, Getty

This story was originally published on 13 November 2019 and has been updated. 

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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