The Long-Awaited 'Friends' Reunion Finally Has a Trailer and You Will Probably Cry

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In a world rife with revivals and reboots, there’s one that nearly got away: the mythical Friends reunion. Ever since the six pals walked off into the Central Perk sunset, viewers have been waiting patiently for a hint of their return and feverishly rewatching the series. (Which explains the apocalyptic reactions to all 236 episodes leaving Netflix on January 1, 2020.)

But there’s good news for Friends fans: They were on a break—but now they're back. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer will return in the long-awaited HBO Max reunion, premiering on Thursday, May 27, and the trailer is here to make you weep.

Ahead, everything we know about the special.

Mark your calendars for May 27.

Which is much sooner than anticipated! In the first official teaser trailer—which, admittedly, didn't give us much other than a glimpse at the cast slow-walking away from the camera—HBO Max revealed the episode will drop on May 27.

A few days later, the full-length trailer dropped—and it's bound to make any fan reach for the nearest tissue box. The two-minute clip shows the cast exchanging laughter and wiping at tears through table reads, interviews, set visits, and a roundtable trip down memory lane. Watch the full video below.

Expect a small scripted element, but otherwise, the cast will appear as themselves—not in character.

The HBO Max feature will be a time for the cast to reminiscence on the show's outsized impact in their lives, rather than step back into costume.

In an April 2 interview with Graham Norton, David Schwimmer told the talk-show host the whole cast would appear as themselves: “I’ll be myself. I’ll be David. There’s nothing scripted; we’re not in character. We’re all ourselves, the real people, although there is one section of it that I don’t want to give away, but we all read something.”

During a June 2020 virtual reunion between Aniston and Kudrow, the pair confirmed special isn’t a traditional episode of Friends. “I will not be Phoebe,” Kudrow stated. Aniston added, “I will not be Rachel, although I kind of am. Well, we’re all sort of little fragments of them.”

The episode will feature an...interesting array of guest stars.

Including, perhaps most importantly, BTS!

Beyond the K-pop sensation, The Hollywood Reporter confirms celebrities joining the episode include David Beckham, Justin Bieber, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, James Michael Tyler, Reese Witherspoon, and Malala Yousafzai. Some will appear as interviewers. Others as fans of the show. And you can expect some exciting cameos from other former cast members, such as Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice, and Tom Selleck, who played Monica's one-time love, Richard.

Photos from set have leaked, if you want another sneak preview.

The series’ original production designer, Greg Grande, shared photos of the set he’s recreating for the reunion on Instagram, right down to the turquoise cabinets.

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On April 11, TMZ reported the reunion will include shots from the iconic fountain in the Friends opening credits. Additionally, the live audience element was mostly comprised of paid actors who were COVID-tested for safety ahead of filming.

One Friend got a little ahead of himself when sharing images from set. On Friday, April 9, Perry posted a rather innocuous photo from his makeup chair. “Seconds before eating a makeup brush,” the actor joked, per TMZ. “Not to mention reuniting with my Friends.” The image was quickly deleted.

The reunion was officially announced in February 2020.

HBO Max confirmed on February 21, 2020 that a reunion of the original six cast members would help launch its service that May.

The special was untitled and would be unscripted, with filming taking place at Friends’ original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank.

“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,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TBS, TNT, and truTV, confirmed in a statement. “I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. 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.”

Each original Friends cast member confirmed the news on Instagram, captioning the same group shot, “It’s happening…” to the thrill of fans around the world.

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Original Friends producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane will co-executive produce the special alongside the six cast members. Ben Winston will direct the special, as well as executive produce alongside Emma Conway and James Longman.

The reunion was previously a “maybe,” reportedly because of money.

Deadline reported in January 2020 that a previously-planned HBO Max reunion with all six cast members and co-creators/executive producers Kauffman and Crane was at “a standstill.” In the report, Deadline attributed the PIVOT(!) away from an unscripted special to negotiation issues. Allegedly, producing studio Warner Bros. TV and the OG cast members were "far apart on money." Like, an eight-figure gap, sources told the outlet.

“There is interest all around and yet we can’t get the interests all alighted to push the button on it,” HBO Max’s Chief Creative Officer Kevin Reilly said about the reunion special at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. “Today it’s just maybe.”

Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images

In the past, getting the gang together was shut down.

As it turns out, there was reason to be skeptical about an official reunion with Rachel, Ross, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, and Chandler. Ever since the popular sitcom ended in 2004, the creative team has been steadfast about not returning.

Nearly everyone who breathed near the soundstage where Friends shot has dodged questions about a revival. And as recently as 2019, those involved were still shutting down rumors. During a Friends 25th anniversary panel at Tribeca TV Festival in September, Kauffman and Crane nixed ideas of a scripted return.“We will not be doing a reunion show, we will not be doing a reboot,” Kauffman said. “The show was about that time in life when friends are your family,” she explained, adding that the characters are in a different place with their own families.

As for a reboot, à la Gossip Girl, Kauffman said, “It’s not going to beat what we did.” Crane added, “We did the show we wanted to do. We got it right, and we put a bow on it.”

Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images

Each cast member has spoken out against a return before.

Prior to 2019, every cast member found a reason to evade Friends 2.0.

In 2018, Schwimmer had this to say about a reunion/reboot: “Look, the thing is, I just don’t know if I want to see all of us with crutches [and] walkers.” That same year, Kudrow told Conan O’Brien, "They’re rebooting everything. I don’t know how that works with Friends, though. That was about people in their twenties, thirties. The show isn’t about people in their forties, fifties. And if we have the same problems, that's just sad.”

Cox reiterated those statements, telling People, “I don’t see it happening.” LeBlanc simply put it, “When that period is over, it’s over.”

And in 2017 Perry even referred to the idea as a “nightmare” during a Vanity Fair interview:

I have this recurring nightmare—I’m not kidding about this. When I’m asleep, I have this nightmare that we do Friends again and nobody cares. We do a whole series, we come back, and nobody cares about it. So if anybody asks me, I’m gonna say no. The thing is: we ended on such a high. We can’t beat it. Why would we go and do it again?

Ahead of the reunion’s release, the cast discussed where their characters might be today.

Although they won’t be playing their characters for the HBO Max special, the cast members still have opinions on what those characters would be doing in 2021.

Cox imagines Monica as the ultimate insufferable PTA mom. “I always just feel like Monica would be doing something competitively with other mothers and trying to outdo them,” she told People. “Whether it’s the bake sale at school or something. I mean, she’d be so annoying.”

Meanwhile, Phoebe would be embracing her artistic side. “[Phoebe] is living in Connecticut with Mike and their kids, and she’s in charge of the arts program for the school,” Kudrow said.

As for Joey, LeBlanc imagines he’s living the life he was meant to live—surrounded by food as a sandwich shop owner. Over in PTA land with Monica, Perry thinks Chandler would be a “wonderful father” and a “wonderful comedy writer.”

Speaking as Rachel, Aniston told People, “I would like to have maybe started a clothing line of my own, and it’s sort of a small franchise. Like a Nili Lotan. And I live in New York City on the Upper East Side.”

As for the man she said goodbye to Paris for? No word on whether Ross and Rachel have stayed together, but Schwimmer says the paleontologist “would’ve invested in Joey’s sandwich shop and lost a lot of his savings for his kids.”

“Dinosaur-themed sandwich shop,” LeBlanc quipped. “Bronto-burger.”