HBO Max's 'Friends' Reunion Special: What We Know

"Where's the tissue box?" —Jennifer Aniston and us.

friends reunion 2021
(Image credit: NBC)

Finally. Finally! After months of increasingly fervent speculation (and that was just from me) and teasers, HBO Max and the stars of Friends confirmed (opens in new tab) that, yes, a reunion special is happening (opens in new tab). And furthermore, on May 19, the streamer dropped a trailer of the reunion that is sure to bring all the tears, smiles, and goosebumps.

In the two-minute clip, fans can see the original cast returning to the show's original soundstage in Burbank, California. "Where's the tissue box?" Jennifer Aniston says while walking around the iconic purple apartment/set.

The trailer also shows glimpses of the cast playing show trivia (yes, the same game from "The One With the Embryos"), doing a table read (Lisa Kudrow has definitely still got Phoebe's edge), and generalizing laughing and reminiscing together about the good times.

The special is jam-packed with recurring guest stars like Reese Witherspoon (Jill, Rachel's sister), Tom Selleck (Richard, Monica's longtime boyfriend), Maggie Wheeler (Janice, Chandler's on-again-off-again girlfriend) as well as superfans like David Beckham, Justin Bieber, Malala Yousafzai, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, and Mindy Kaling. It's hosted by James Corden.

friends reunion

(Image credit: HBO)

The Friends reunion special streams on May 27. Fittingly, that's a Thursday—the day original series ran on NBC.

Courteney Cox first chatted with comedian Kevin Nealon on his Hiking with Kevin Youtube series for  (opens in new tab)E News! (opens in new tab) about the reunion. Let's just say she's just as excited as we are. "So the exciting thing is that we're all going to get together for the first time, in a room, and actually talk about the show, and it's going to be on HBO Max, and I'm so excited," Cox said at the time.

"But we really haven't all done that and actually sat there and talked about and reminisced about this incredible experience that we had. It's gonna be fantastic," she added.

The last time the cast was all together was at Cox's home for dinner in October, she says, which to her is the perfect kind of reunion.

"I don’t know how many years it was, maybe 15 years—and we finally all got together and had dinner," said Cox on the dinner. "And when we get together, which is never … it just doesn’t happen very often, like twice since we ended the show—it’s just the most fun. We laugh so hard."

Jennifer Aniston posted a photo of the six stars on Twitter on an otherwise unremarkable Friday in mid-February, writing "It's happening..." and tagging HBO Max. Cox and the rest of their costars shared the same post (opens in new tab) at the same moment.

And then everyone just went nuts. (opens in new tab)

According to Variety, which broke the news, each star will get about $2.5 million for the special. The show's executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane will return to work on the project, and each of the six main cast members will executive produce as well. The reason it'll debut in May is because that'll when HBO Max will kick off, and the streaming service aiming to incentivize new subscribers with news of a Friends reunion.

Friends left Netflix at the end of 2019, and is now available on HBO Max.

In a statement, HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly further teased the special: "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." He added: "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.”


friends cast

(Image credit: Reisig & Taylor/NBC)
Jenny Hollander
Director of Content Strategy

Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books in 2024.