About a year after it was originally planned to shoot, the long-awaited Friends reunion special, which will bring the cast of the hit sitcom together again onscreen for the first time in years, will film next week. The special is set to air on HBO Max, and was originally marketed as part of the high-profile roll-out of Friends on the streaming service, which is owned by WarnerMedia. Warner Bros. Television, a division of WarnerMedia, produced the series for NBC and will also produce the reunion special for HBO Max. The special is said to be an unscripted reunion, where the actors will appear as themselves, not in character, although David Schwimmer teased on an appearance on The Graham Norton Show that the cast had "all read something" together for one sequence.
Earlier this year, Lisa Kudrow said on an episode of Literally!...With Rob Lowe that she had already filmed some of her work for the reunion special. Kudrow says that she believes not only Central Perk, but other sets from the series that she has not been in since the show was airing.
"There's different facets to it; some already-shot [video] packages of things," Kudrow explained. "I don't know, fully. I really don't, but I pre-shot something for it already, so we're definitely doing it, because I already shot a little something."
Back in November, Warner Bros. targeted a March filming date for the Friends reunion special, although given the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 deaths and the impact that had on production, it's possible the extra two weeks were impossible to avoid.
Over the summer, reports emerged that Cox was a motivating factor for her co-stars to sign on for the special with the entire cast meeting at her Malibu beach house to hash it all out. The dinner was probably supposed to be a night for reminiscing, but things quickly took shape. WarnerMedia executives had discussed the plans with Cox earlier that day. Once they laid out their vision for the service, they let the actress's cozy atmosphere and the power of nostalgia do the rest.
Cox has never shied away from dipping her toes into a little Friends nostalgia; when she headlined Cougar Town, a sitcom from Ted Lasso's Bill Lawrence and Scrubs's Kevin Biegel, there were episodes that featured guest appearances by Aniston and Perry, littered with inside jokes that made light of the Friends connection and poked at the actors' shared history.
All 236 episodes of Friends are available now on HBO Max.