Will the ‘Friends’ Reunion Lead the Way to a Reboot?
All the speculation about a Friends reunion (or lack of one) can now be put to rest. A new deal brings back the original cast for a one-shot special on HBO Max this coming May.
What that’s going to entail; however, is still one of the biggest TV mysteries this season. Thus far, it appears it’ll bring the cast on screen but they won’t be reprising their original roles. Since the show is “unscripted,” it suggests the actors will not be back as their iconic characters.
Whatever the format will be, the cast will be rolling in more money thanks to stellar paydays. If this becomes successful, there’s also the usual talk about a reboot of Friends. On the other hand, everyone’s probably lucky just to have this one reunion.
HBO Max realizes the value of ‘Friends’ to launch their streaming platform
Most cable networks would turn up their nose at an offer to give $3 million per cast member to return for a one-time special. The cast of Friends will probably be the only exception in the history of television, if ever again.
HBO Max will be paying the actors double what they made per episode in the final season of the show.
Having this show done at all was obviously a financial gamble for HBO, yet seemingly worth it since they want a big kickoff for their HBO Max streaming service. Presenting a lead-in like this is arguably bigger than anything Apple TV+ or Disney+ could muster.
The response may also be so overwhelming, it may lead to another call to reboot the series. How realistic would that be, and would it be with different actors or the same cast?
No one should count on a ‘Friends’ reboot, at least not immediately
Everyone who was a fan of Friends should consider this reunion to be a miracle on its own. How fans react to it will also be more determinable on what comes next.
The most likely scenario is this reunion will be the only thing we’ll ever see the cast do again related to Friends, followed by them reaping the rewards of more residuals through HBO. Or, if the response is overwhelming enough, maybe something crazy really would happen.
Excitement on that level could make the odds fall in favor of a reboot, as long as it had a real story there to be told.
Last year, co-creator Marta Kauffman firmly said there would not be a Friends reboot. She said: “There are two reasons for that. One of the reasons we won’t do a reunion is because this is a show about a time in your life when your friends are your family. And when you have a family, that changes. But the other reason is it’s not going to beat what we did.”
Would the cast be open to a ‘Friends’ reboot?
Simply put, thus far the original cast isn’t too keen on a reboot.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing, voiced his fears: “I have this recurring nightmare — I’m not kidding about this. When I’m asleep, I have this nightmare that we do Friends again and nobody cares. We do a whole series, we come back, and nobody cares about it. So if anybody asks me, I’m gonna say no. The thing is: we ended on such a high. We can’t beat it. Why would we go and do it again?”
David Schwimmer, who played Ross Gellar, has made jokes in the past about not wanting to see the crew middle-aged on the screen. “The thing is, I just don’t know if I want to see all of us with crutches and, like, walkers. I doubt it, I really doubt it,” joked the actor in 2018 while on Megyn Kelly Today.
Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, shares the same tepidness towards the idea of a reboot. “I don’t see it happening. What would it be about?” she stated on the Today show in 2017. “The thing we liked about that show is it was, like, 20-somethings and they were their own family and now they all have families. So, what are we going to watch?”
That said, perhaps the recent payday and the success of the reunion could change their hearts. What’s more, Friends has seen a surge in popularity from the younger generation that is binge-watching the sitcom on streaming platforms.