The Friends Reunion reveals plenty of secrets about the hit sitcom, including how it wasn’t originally going to have Rachel & Ross end up together.
While the Friends ending was happy for everyone involved, the original plan for the finale didn’t see Ross and Rachel end up together. It’s been nearly two decades since the hit sitcom capped off its 10-year-run; yet, Friends still maintains its massive cultural hold on audiences, as proven by the successful 2021 HBO Max Friends cast reunion. While there are a lot of iconic moments that made the show great, one of the most popular elements of Friends was Ross and Rachel’s 10-season will-they-won’t-they romantic arc.
Unlike Monica and Chandler’s love story, which lasted the remainder of the series once they got together in Friends’ season 4 finale, Ross and Rachel’s romance in Friends was tumultuous. While Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer’s Friends characters were clearly in love with each other, getting and staying together proved difficult for the pair. After their proper break-up in season 3, they never properly reunited, instead only revisiting their mutual affection briefly through hook-ups and an accidental wedding. Even though a one-night relapse led to the two conceiving their daughter Emma, Ross and Rachel spent much of Friends’ 10 seasons platonically, until the very end of the sitcom where they finally rekindled their romantic relationship.
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However, Ross and Rachel’s happy Friends ending wasn’t originally going to be their final fate. As revealed in the Friends reunion — officially titled “The One Where They Got Back Together” by co-creator David Crane — there were talks in the writers’ room about whether or not they’d really want Ross and Rachel to get back together before the sitcom wrapped up. Friends’ writers discussed the possibility of an ambivalent ending where it’s implied that they may have eventually reunited in the future instead of before the show bid goodbye. However, they realized that they needed to give a satisfactory send-off to Friends’ Ross and Rachel as viewers invested in them and their relationship, as draining as it was, for a decade. Ultimately, Crane and his team landed on the idea that the couple will be together, but much like their whole relationship, it wouldn’t come easy in Friends’ season 10 finale episode. Hence, the dramatic airport sequence that led to Rachel getting off the plane.
Why Ross & Rachel Get Back Together In Season 10
Considering Ross and Rachel had been set up as Friends’ core couple in its premiere episode and always found a way back to each other thereafter, it would have been remiss for the pair to not end up together in Friends’ ending. While the two had been amicably raising their daughter Emma for two years, Ross and Rachel’s season 10 story has them reconcile their romantic feelings in Friends’ penultimate episode. Rachel never said goodbye to Ross before preparing to leave for Paris, leading to a confrontation in which they both admitted they still loved each other and slept together. Ross and Rachel felt it would be worth it to try to be together again, even if that meant risking Emma’s parents breaking up yet another time. Friends’ season 10 ending sees Jennifer Aniston’s character get off of the plane to Paris after Ross confesses his love, with the two officially reconciling and breaking the 10-year will-they-won’t-they dynamic for good.
Ross & Rachel Almost Didn’t End Up Together In The Friends Finale
It’s difficult to imagine what would’ve been the general reaction if Ross and Rachel’s story was never given a proper ending in Friends. As Crane said, viewers were invested in the characters throughout Friends’ run and it would be a massive disappointment for some if they didn’t clearly end up back together. Nevertheless, it’s curious how Friends’ ending intended to go about Ross and Rachels’ alternate season 10 plan and how it would’ve changed the whole atmosphere of the finale. As such, everyone in Friends’ ending got definitive closure (except for Joey who went to do his spin-off) — Monica and Chandler moved to the suburbs, Phoebe and Mike decided to start a family, and Ross and Rachel got back together. Additionally, Friends’ favorite main cast members were all present during the final scene, which suggests that it would’ve been without Rachel since she pushed through with her plan to relocate to Paris.
If Crane and the writers decided to not reveal if Ross and Rachel got back together, there would undoubtedly be more clamor for a proper Friends revival. This way, the looming Ross and Rachel season 10 question could’ve been properly addressed. Unfortunately, this is something that the actors and the show makers don’t want to do hence why the HBO Max Friends reunion project was unscripted. So in hindsight, it’s for the best to give in to what the fans wanted and provide a happy send-off to Friends‘ iconic Ross and Rachel couple.
Next: Friends: A Complete Timeline of Ross & Rachel’s Relationship
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Accidental movie fan who is perpetually curious, Ana rekindled her love for writing several years back and married it with everything pop culture. The result is a passionate young writer who could ramble (and of course, pen) about films and series multiple hours a day. She has a soft spot for The Lion King, old songs, and home design; is currently obsessed with old sitcoms (The Golden Girls!); and won’t dare watch any horror films although she’s (ironically) dying to see one. Though a bit late to the party and was an actual Force non-believer, she now finds the Star Wars franchise quite fascinating (fun fact: it was a crazy Jar Jar Binks/Sith theory that drew her in).
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