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Friends Reunion at HBO Max: Release Date, Casting, and More

It's almost here!

Amanda Bell

It's been almost a year since Friends fans were supposed to see the cast reunited for the highly anticipated reunion special on HBO Max. The special was supposed to join all 10 seasons of the show on the streaming service at launch last May, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans. While you can binge the series to your heart's content right now, the reunion special has been up in the air as Warner Bros. has looked for a time for the entire cast to be available to safely film. 

Rest assured, the reunion is still happening, and HBO Max is still planning to bring all six of Central Perk's finest -- that is, Jennifer AnistonCourteney CoxLisa KudrowDavid SchwimmerMatthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc -- together again on screen for the first time since the show ended in 2004. As of April, a new production date appears to finally be set. Here's what we know about the Friends cast reunion special so far.

The one where they are reportedly going to film in April. Per multiple reports, including Variety, the Friends reunion is slated to film the week of April 5, which means we could be seeing the Apartment 20 crew back together pretty soon! HBO Max has not commented on the production or a prospective premiere date, but this is the most optimistic news we've heard for a while.

The one where it took a long time to get here. After COVID-19 shut down productions around the world for a good chunk of 2020, it was unclear for a long time when the reunion would actually take place. David Schwimmer previously said in a July interview with AP Entertainment that "the hope [was] to shoot it in August." However, the actor was quick to add that it would only happen "when it's safe," and that turned out to be not the case. WarnerMedia exec Bob Greenblatt had previously said in May that he did not want the special to be a virtual reunion because, "There's a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together, and we didn't want to just suddenly do it on a web call."

Jennifer Aniston told Deadline that the thought process behind pushing the reunion back was, "'How do we do this with live audiences?' This is not a safe time. Period. That's the bottom line. It's not a safe time to do it." She added that the postponement had "given us more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been."

The one with the familiar setting. Barring any major changes to the format, the Friends reunion special will be filmed at the show's original soundstage, which is Stage 24 on the Warner Bros. lot. It's unknown which props may or may not come into use for the special, but we are sure hoping to see Central Perk or Monica's place back in action for the event.

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The one with the other people you know. In addition to headlining the Friends reunion, the six stars will also serve as executive producers, alongside original series bosses Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. Ben Winston will direct the special, and Emma Conway and James Longman are also co-executive producers.

The one where they're finally together again on screen. Although the entire cast of Friends has gathered together since the show ended -- a photo of one such gathering launched Aniston's Instagram presence -- the reunion special will mark the first time that all six stars will be together in front of studio cameras since the finale. The Friends have come awfully close to a full-on reunion in the past; everyone except Perry showed up for the 2016 tribute to James Burrows, who directed the pilot and several other episodes and helped shape the show forever more. They've also routinely appeared on each other's non-Friends TV projects, and a few have even re-created Friends scenes for talk shows, like Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel Live. However, the Friends cast reunion for HBO Max will still be the first true televised reunion of the entire Apartment 20 crew. 

The one where the cast is as stoked as you are. Cox started rewatching Friends just to prepare for the reunion because she's terrible at Friends trivia, and LeBlanc likened the reunion to "[getting] the band back together without the instruments." Meanwhile, Lisa Kudrow is just as antsy to get to work on it as anyone, telling ET Online, "I can only imagine. It's gonna be fun. I mean, it'll be really fun."

Friends is now streaming on HBO Max. 

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David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and Jennifer Aniston, An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows

Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images