‘Friends’: Rachel Green Had a Different Last Name in the Original Pilot Script

Friends fans have spent years debating the proper spelling of Rachel Green’s last name. As it turns out, that debate almost didn’t happen. While her childhood pals, Monica and Ross Geller, had their names set in stone from the original pilot script, Rachel did not. In fact, the original script gave Rachel an entirely different last name. 

Is ‘Friends’ character Rachel’s last name spelled Green or Greene? 

Fans have spent more than a decade debating the correct spelling of Rachel’s last name. The full names of the Friends characters are rarely seen written down in the show. Still, special guests are often listed in the credits, along with the character they played. When the writing team introduced Rachel’s parents in the early seasons, the credits revealed her last name was spelled “Green,” just like the color. 

Pheobe Buffay Rachel Green and Monica Geller stand in Central Perk in season 1 of 'Friends'
Pheobe Buffay, Rachel Green and Monica Geller | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Later, in  “The One with the Invitation,” fans caught a glimpse of mail addressed directly to Rachel. In the episode, Ross held Rachel’s invitation to his wedding in his hands, pausing before deciding whether to put it in the mailbox. Before he placed the letter into a mailbox on the street corner, the camera lingered over the invitation. Rachel’s last name is spelled with an “E” at the end in this instance. So, which way is it spelled? According to fans, either one is acceptable. 

Rachel Green was almost Rachel Robbins 

The Green vs. Greene debate almost didn’t need to happen. In the original pilot script, Rachel’s last name was Robbins. According to Fandom, the first draft of the Friends pilot surfaced and showed that Rachel’s original last name was said out loud in an early scene, and it wasn’t Green. 

In the pilot episode, “The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate,” Ross points out Rachel after she enters the coffee shop and asks Monica if the woman in a wedding dress is “Rachel Robbins.” The scene was cut from the filmed pilot and the last name was never spoken. Eventually, Rachel became Rachel Green, and the rest is history. 

Rachel’s name wasn’t the only thing about the character that almost looked very different 

Jennifer Aniston is largely considered the perfect fit for the role of Rachel, regardless of what the character’s last name was. She almost didn’t land the role, though. Aniston eventually landed in the part, but initially, Courteney Cox was asked to audition for it. According to several sources, Warner Bros. executives had asked Cox to audition for the role of Rachel, but she asked to read for Monica instead. Cox once explained that she was drawn to Monica’s strong personality. 

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow pose for promotional photos for 'Friends'
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller and Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay | Gerald Weinman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Plenty of actors were considered for the part of Monica before it went to Cox, though. Maggie Wheeler was considered for the role. Leah Remini also auditioned to play Monica Geller but was passed over. Both Wheeler and Remini would go on to appear in the show. Wheeler appeared in multiple episodes of Friends as Chandler Bing’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Janice. Remini appeared in a single episode as a woman that Joey Tribbiani helped through labor. 

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