HBO Max’s upcoming Friends reunion special looks to be as star-studded as the show itself — with 18 celebrity guest stars already confirmed.
HBO Max’s upcoming Friends reunion special promises to be as star-studded as the show itself — with 18 celebrity guest stars already confirmed. On NBC in 1994, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Friends premiered with a perfect pilot episode. Earning impressive ratings from the outset, the show still managed an upward trajectory to become one of the most successful and popular television shows of all time. It ultimately ran for 10 seasons, culminating in 2004 with a two-part series finale watched live, globally, by over 50 million people. With the announcement of the HBO Max streaming service, a special event celebrating the sitcom’s legacy was commissioned.
Friends followed the meme-worthy exploits of a titular friend group as they navigated life, love, and career ambitions in New York City. The show made household names out of its stars and characters — including David Schwimmer’s Ross Geller, Jennifer Anniston’s Rachel Green, Matthew Perry’s Chandler Bing, Courteney Cox’s Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc’s Joey Tribbiani, and Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe Buffay. As well as the various romantic entanglements – especially the relationship between Ross and Rachel – fans were gripped by the revolving door of high-profile guest-stars the show secured.
Courtesy of a press release from WarnerMedia, it was confirmed that Friends: The Reunion would be no different. As well as each of the aforementioned creators and stars, the special event will be stacked with a whole array of guest appearances. Directed by Ben Winston, the episode’s expansive list of guest-stars were announced to include: David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon, and Malala Yousafzai.
The list was a solid split between celebrity super-fans, those who were no doubt inspired by Friends in the creation of their own sitcoms, and those who actually worked on the show. The latter section included Pickles and Gould, who played Ross and Monica’s parents throughout the show’s run. Hankin recurred as the group’s unstable neighbor, Mr. Heckles. Lennon appeared briefly in Friends season 5 as Randall (a.k.a. Joey’s identical hand twin). Wheeler served as Chandler’s frequent on-and-off love interest/torment, Janice. Selleck portrayed the one-time love of Monica’s life, Richard Burke. Witherspoon guest-starred as Rachel’s younger sister, Jill. And Tyler was essentially the unofficial seventh friend — appearing in nearly 150 of the total 236 episodes as Central Perk manager, Gunther.
It’ll no d0ubt be interesting to hear just how Friends influenced the separate sitcom efforts of Corden and Kaling. Equally, it’ll be fascinating to hear from younger generations such as Bieber and Malala how the show still resonated with them. However, it’ll likely be through those with first-hand experience from the set that’ll garner the most excitement. After all, even the one-off guest-stars will have a wealth of stories. That’ll be especially true of Witherspoon, whose time on the show was frequently subject to erroneous rumors of conflict. Despite no other names being put forward, it was confirmed that Friends: The Reunion would be full of surprises. As such, fans should probably expect several more to be revealed on the day — and, with any luck, maybe even a Kudrow and Gaga duet of “Smelly Cat”.