Friends could've gone on for extra seasons given its popularity with the fans. However, as we'll reveal in the following, the crew behind the scenes thought the show was ending after seven seasons, and the same held true every year until its end after season 10.
Behind the scenes, there were a few principles in place for the final episode. Among them, was David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston's characters, Ross and Rachel finally getting back together.
We're going to reveal what that process was like behind the scenes with the writers, and if it was ever considered not to get the two back together. In addition, we'll take a look back at the emotional hug between Schwimmer and Aniston, that went on after the director closed off the scene.
Setting up the Friends finale was a tricky process behind the scenes. According to Marta Kauffman, both the cast and crew weren't sure when the show was coming to an end and towards the finale, it seemed like every season might be the last. This began during season 7, all the way until its very end on season 10.
Creatively, there were lots of discussions behind the scenes as to how things would unfold. However, among the biggest priorities was finally getting Ross and Rachel back together after also the years apart.
Kauffman reveals, "But we thought, "No, if we're going to do it, let's do it." It's the nature of our show. It's not a show about grays. Let's deliver not just what the audience wants, but what we want, which was to see them finally together. But as for other things, we knew in our final season we wanted to give Chandler and Monica a baby, and then it was fun to give them two. But no, we weren't looking for some crazy reversal."
The showrunners definitely delivered as to what the fanbase wanted to see. And as it turns out, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston were also very emotional about it all.
The Friends finale became the fourth largest in history of TV, with 52.5 million people tuning in to watch the conclusion after a decade long run.
Jennifer Aniston admitted that the finale was a tough experience, especially given what was going on in her personal life at the time.
"Well, the ending of Friends, well, you know, I got a divorce and went into therapy. Oh, and then I did a movie called The Break-up. I just kind of leaned into the end. I just was like, you know what guys, let's just put this... let's make this a completely new chapter. Let's end everything. Let's just end everything and then start new. And I mean, it worked great."
Aniston like the rest of the cast felt lots of emotions shooting the finale. Among the memorable scenes sees Rachel getting off her flight to Paris, and ending up back at Ross' apartment. The moment got a huge ovation from the live audience, while the two continued their hug after the scene ended. The emotional moment can be viewed in the video below, posted by Iris Meraki on YouTube.
A great moment that just goes to show the closeness between Aniston and Schwimmer off-camera.
There was a discussion and certain "gray" area in which Ross and Rachel didn't end up together. However, the showrunners were well aware that it was time to give the fans what they wanted, and the idea was ultimately nixed, with the full intent on getting the characters back together.
"The only thing we absolutely knew from very early on was that we had to get Ross and Rachel together. We had dicked the audience around for 10 years with their "will they or won't they," and we didn't see any advantage in frustrating them," Kaufmann reveals.
David Crane would also mention that beyond the fans, the cast and writers wanted to see Ross and Rachel together, given the story that was told for the last ten years.
"For the story that we'd been telling for 10 years. We were never plugged into social media and listening to fan sites. There were enough opinions among the dozen writers in the writer's room, not to mention the cast, not to mention [executive producer/director] Kevin [Bright] — everybody had a strong opinion about this. We certainly didn't need to go beyond that."
Fans were very satisfied with the way things went for Ross and Rachel. As we've seen in the past, planning a finale is no easy task, but Friends was able to do so while leaving its fans happy.