Filming on Friends Reunion Has Been Delayed Due to Coronavirus
By Alvin Ward
On February 22, Friends fans finally got the news they've been waiting more than 16 years to hear: Monica, Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Chandler were reuniting for the first time since Friends aired its series finale on May 6, 2004. But today, less than one month later, the world is in a different place. With the total number of cases of coronavirus rising every day, film and TV production around the world has essentially come to a halt until further notice. Now Deadline is reporting that filming on HBO Max's planned Friends reunion has had to be postponed as well.
Though still relatively little is known about exactly what the special will entail, early reports are that it will be more of a Friends retrospective, where the beloved sitcom's stars—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—will take a look back at the show that changed the course of their lives, and is still finding new audiences more than a quarter-century after it first debuted on NBC in September of 1994.
According to Deadline:
"Given the severity of the health crisis, which ground all Hollywood production to a halt in a matter of days, it is currently doubtful that any film or TV production could resume by May though the situation is being evaluated week by week and even day by day. Right now, there are strict federal and state guidelines limiting public gatherings to help curb the spread of the virus, which are expected to be in place for weeks."
The good news—at least for now—is that the change in schedule may not affect the special's premiere date. While no official release date has been given, it's believed that the Friends reunion will be available for streaming as soon as HBO Max makes its debut (there's no official date for that either, beyond that it will be in May).
Though filming has reportedly been pushed to May, because the special will be more of an interview format than a scripted series, prepping it in time for HBO Max's launch should not be as daunting a task. Provided it's safe for them to film when May rolls around.
For now, we'll have to wait—and be content to know that we'll see all six Friends together again in the very near future. In the meantime, you can satisfy your craving for never-before-seen Friends content with 25 minutes of bloopers.