HBO Max's Friends reunion special is no longer "stuck in second gear." After months of multiple delays due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, original cast member Matthew Perry, who portrayed Chandler, revealed Thursday that filming is slated to begin in March 2021, setting that cast up for "a busy year coming up."
Although Perry didn’t offer many more details than that, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the current goal is to film the reunion special in the first part of the new year. This would mean that the special would likely make its long-awaited debut sometime in the spring, a year past its originally intended debut date. These dates, however, are not set in stone, and plans are still being finalized.
Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March. Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that's the way I like it!— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) November 12, 2020
Along with Perry, the HBO Max Friends reunion special will feature Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), and David Schwimmer (Ross). According to Schwimmer, the special is "basically a really fun interview" with "some other surprise bits."
The special had initially been slated to debut in May alongside the launch of WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max. It was later revealed, however, that the special had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced production on many series and films to grind to a halt. In March, Deadline confirmed that the special would delay filming, reporting that production would be pushed back until sometime in May, a date that was again pushed back. In July, Schwimmer told Jimmy Fallon that the hope was to begin production in August, though that date, too, was pushed back.
"Unfortunately it's very sad that we had to move it again. It 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," Aniston recently said of the delays. "It's going to be super. I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we're not going anywhere. You're never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You're stuck with us for life, guys."
The special will mark the first time the entire cast has reunited on the screen since the show came to an end in 2004. First premiering in 1994, Friends chronicled the lives of six 20-something New Yorkers as they navigated through their personal and professional lives. It aired for 10 seasons, with all 236 episodes of the series currently available for streaming on HBO Max.