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'Friends' Reunion Special: Release date, plot, cast and all you need to know about the NBC comedy's comeback on HBO Max

After months of debates, discussions and planning, the iconic comedy series will finally find itself in an unscripted special, as the entire cast and crew get together to launch the historical team on HBO's upcoming streaming service
UPDATED MAY 13, 2021
A still from the teaser of 'Friends: The Reunion' (Instagram/Jennifer Aniston)
A still from the teaser of 'Friends: The Reunion' (Instagram/Jennifer Aniston)

It's the decade of retellings, reboots, and reunions, and after many years of pleading (on fans' side) and hinting and denials, we may finally get the 'Friends' reunion that we have been hoping for.

For over months since its grand 25th anniversary, the cult classic comedy series and its iconic quintet of friends will finally make a comeback to the screen. What had started with a tentative discussion, has finally taken shape.

The series' original cast, namely, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry have reached an agreement with the show’s producer, Warner Bros for the upcoming reunion special.

The unscripted special will be one of the flagship shows of the soon-to-be-launched streaming service HBO Max (from the house of HBO), where a reunion special of ‘Friends’ will be featured as one of the primary attractions.

And when it finally releases, the original sitcom will leave Netflix, sometimes at the end of this year and will be part of HBO Max when the streaming service launches.

Release Date

The much-anticipated 'Friends: The Reunion' will be releasing on May 27, 2021. The episode is titled 'The One Where They Get Back Together'.


Initially named 'Six of Us', 'Friends' followed a group of 6 friends -- in their mid-twenties when we first saw them -- for ten years, navigating adult life in New York City. The first episode began with Rachel Green running into the Central Perk Cafe in her wedding dress, looking for her high-school friend, Monica and the rest, as they say, is history.

Through ten years, fans got to follow the lives of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Joey, and Chandler through their multiple ups and downs. Rachel went from being a waitress to working in the fashion industry, Joey went from doing minor roles to being part of the fictional version of 'Days of Our Lives', Chandler and Monica went from being friends to getting married and having kids of their own, and Ross went through multiple divorces.

As the series ended, Rachel gave up her job in Paris to be with Ross, Chandler and Monica adopted twins and moved to the suburbs, Phoebe got married to Mike, and post the end of the show via a short-lived spinoff named after him, Joey moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. The series finale was watched by over 52 million people as it aired, making it the most-watched episode of the 2000s.


Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston arrives at the premiere of Netflix's "Dumplin'" at the Chinese Theater on December 6, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Jennifer Aniston rose to stardom through her role as Rachel Green in 'Friends'. When the series starts, Rachel had just moved to the city after leaving her fiance Barry at the altar and begins life as an independent woman living with Monica. She goes from being an incompetent waitress to making a break in the fashion industry and finally working with Ralph Lauren. Rachel had an on-and-off relationship with Ross through the series, and in the eighth season, has a child, Emma, with him.

Courtney Cox

Courteney Cox arrives at the premiere of Netflix's "Dumplin'" at the Chinese Theater on December 6, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Courtney Cox is an actress best known for her roles in 'Friends' and the 'Scream' series. In 'Friends', she plays Monica Geller, Rachel's high school friend who used to be overweight. She is also Ross's sister. Monica is a compulsive neat freak and works as a chef. Midway through the series, she starts going out with Chandler and gets married to him. As the series ended, she and Chandler adopt twins and moves to the suburbs.

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow attends the LA special screening of Annapurna Pictures' "Booksmart" at Ace Hotel on May 13, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Lisa Kudrow plays Phoebe Buffay on 'Friends'. Phoebe is the quirky one in the group, having grown up homeless after her mother committed suicide. Phoebe's character is best known for her "Smelly Cat" song. Through the series, she is seen working as a part-time musician at the Central Perk Cafe as well as a masseuse. In the ninth season, she meets Mike (Paul Rudd) and gets married to him in the final season of the show.

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc attends the "Episodes" screening and panel at WME Agency on June 21, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

Matt LeBlanc plays Joey Tribbiani in 'Friends'. A struggling actor, the series sees Joey move from smaller roles to playing Dr. Drake Ramoray in a fictional version of 'Days of Our Lives'. Joey is shown as a womanizer and less smart than the others of the group. In the eighth season, he develops feelings for Rachel and though the two act on their feelings for each other by the end of the ninth season, they realize they are better suited as friends. After the series ended, a short-lived spinoff named 'Joey' saw Joey moving to LA to continue his acting career.

Matthew Perry

Actor Matthew Perry attends Phoenix House's 12th Annual Triumph For Teens Awards Gala at the Montage Beverly Hills on June 15, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

Matthew Perry played Chandler Bing on 'Friends'. Chandler was the comic relief of the group and reportedly, Perry improvised his lines often. Though Chandler is initially shown as a commitment-phobe, he ends up dating Monica and marrying her. He was Ross's friend in college and starts the show as Joey's roommate. 

David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer attends The Rape Foundation's Annual Brunch on October 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

David Schwimmer played Ross Geller on 'Friends', Monica's older brother. Ross is a paleontologist who becomes a professor midway through the series. When the series starts, he is getting a divorce from his wife, Carol, who realizes that she is gay. He has a son, Ben, with Carol and a daughter, Emma, with Rachel. Ross gets married and divorced from both Emily and Rachel in the show, the latter when the pair get married in a drunken haze in Vegas.

The Reunion will feature the six main actors from the show, along with Tom Selleck and Reese Witherspoon, who essayed the roles of Dr. Richard Burke and Jill Greene respectively. Other cast members from the original show who will appear in the special include Maggie Wheeler (Janice) James Michael Tyler (Gunther), Thomas Lennon (Randall), Christina Pickles (Judy Geller), Larry Hankin (Mr Heckles). 

The special will also guest-star David Beckham, James Corden, BTS, Justin Bieber, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, Mindy Kaling, and Malala Yousafzai.


A teaser clip from the Reunion Special was released by the official Friends social media handle, as well as the six lead actors. 



David Crane & Marta Kauffman

Writers/producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman attend the Backstage Creations Celebrity Retreat at The 2016 Writers Guild West Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 13, 2016, in Century City, California. (Getty Images)

'Friends' was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman in the early 1990s. Initially named 'Six of Us', Crane wanted a series not targeted at one generation, but one that everyone would enjoy watching.

David Crane also created 'Episodes', while Marta Kauffman created 'Grace and Frankie'.

The Special has been created by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon, Fulwell 73 Productions and Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions.

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