The Best Movie and TV Show Cast Reunions Filmed During Quarantine
Finished re-watching all your favorite shows and movies? These virtual reunions are here to help!
Months into the ongoing pandemic, you likely know what to expect from a star-studded cast reunion video. There's the references to staying inside, the glimpses of bookshelves and paintings in the background, the joy of recognition when a new face pops on the screen, and the jokes about older actors not understanding how to set up Zoom. From John Krasinski pulling together old friends from The Office on his Some Good News series to NBC airing an in-character Parks and Recreationreunion episode, the virtual cast reunion has become a pop-culture staple in this bizarre moment.
Even as TV shows and movies slowly resume production, the reunions will keep coming, with the cast of the cult serial killer series Hannibal reuniting in July and more on the way. While some fundraising reunions are slicker than others -- Josh Gad's '80s-obsessed Reunited Apart, which celebrated Back to the Future, Splash, and Ghostbusters, has streamlined the quarantine hang-out quite a bit -- even the more casual ones have at least a couple fun, low-key moments for fans. These are some of our favorites from the last few months.
Turns out an episode of Community is still very funny even if it's read over Zoom. Almost the entire original study group (including Donald Glover, who is way more famous than anyone else now) gathered to read "Cooperative Polygraphy" from Season 5 for charity. (It's an episode without Pierce, so there was no reason to reach out to Chevy Chase.) Pedro Pascal subbed in for Walton Goggins as the executor of Pierce's will, giving a hilarious performance made even moreso when he couldn't stop breaking. There was an additional reunion on Ken Jeong and Joel McHale's podcast, which brought you the moment where Glover realized there's a group chat he's not a part of. "I think we assumed you were too busy, Donald," Yvette Nicole Brown says. -- Esther Zuckerman
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Bueller… Bueller? Most of the primary cast of this John Hughes teen classic, including self-described "economist-crank" Ben Stein, was in attendance for this lighthearted reunion hosted by Josh Gad as part of his nostalgia-heavy Reunited Apart series. Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck, currently stealing scenes as the oblivious Connor Roy on HBO's Succession, both showed off their Zoom-ready eyewear, while the rest of the cast swapped stories of getting into trouble on the set and working with Hughes as young actors. If you stick around long enough, you'll get to see Bueller super-fan Jake Gyllenhaal drop in and a number of quick appearances from different stars paying tribute to Hughes by reading some of his most famous lines. -- Dan Jackson
The reunion for The Office might've gotten more attention -- and the upcoming Friendsreunion on HBO Max certainly cost more -- but don't sleep on this laidback reunion for another long-running NBC sitcom, which features Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, Dan Butler, and Bebe Neuwirth. Raising money for The Actor's Fund, the actors reminisce about old times, with Grammer sharing an anecdote about getting cast on Cheers while serving as an understudy in the Broadway production of Hurlyburly starring William Hurt and Christopher Walken. Plus, if you ever wanted to see a clip of David Hyde Pierce performing a ridiculous song on Caroline in the City, here's your chance. -- DJ
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Did you know Will Smith has his own show on Snapchat? Launched in April as a response to the pandemic, Will From Home follows the Men in Black star as he makes content in his garage. That includes staging a reunion of the cast members of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the endearing family sitcom that helped launch his career back in the '90s. Tatyana Ali, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Daphne Maxwell Reid all logged in on the Zoom call, which includes a touching tribute to the late James Avery, who played Will's uncle, Philip Banks, on the series. -- DJ
Friday Night Lights
This Friday Night Lights reunion might not have the same level of star power as some of the other reunion specials on this list -- Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons, and Zach Gilford don't appear -- but it's still fun to see fan favorites like Adrianne Palicki (Tyra Collette), Scott Porter (Jason Street), Derek Phillips (Billy Riggins), Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor), and Gaius Charles (Smash Williams) kick back and re-watch the pilot together to raise money for the World Health Organization. This might not be the (unlikely) reunion movie that's occasionally teased in the press, but it's a start. Also, take a look at the excellent beard on Brad Leland, who played Buddy Garrety on the show -- that's some really impressive quarantine facial hair. -- DJ
High School Musical
After all these years, the East High Wildcats are still all in this together. The cast of the popular DCOM High School Musical recorded a virtual rendition of the movie's theme, "We're All In This Together," for the Disney Family Singalong, a remote event that aired on ABC and featured celebs like Ariana Grande singing Disney classics. While HSM castmates like Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale appeared, Troy Bolton himself (Zac Efron) notably did not "get his head in the game," sitting this one out. His verses were sung by High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actor Joshua Bassett, and the group was joined by stars from the new Disney+ series, as well as other big Disney Channel names like Raven-Symoné. -- Sadie Bell
Lizzie McGuire was a childhood favorite for many aughts kids, but there's one episode in particular that fans often cite as the most memorable: "Between a Rock and a Bra Place," the one where Lizzie screams at her parents how much she wants a bra. Jake Thomas, who played Lizzie's younger brother, Matt, organized a table read of the episode over Zoom, and just about everyone -- including a cut-out of animated Lizzie -- logged on to recite the now 19-year-old episode. They even sing the classic theme song, so it's almost like you're watching the Disney Channel in 2001 again. -- SB
The Lord of the Rings
Maybe the best part about The Lord of the Rings movies (besides… the actual movies) was all the incredible behind-the-scenes footage that featured insane interviews with the weirdo cast members in which they recounted on-set jokes and pranked each other for all three movies' press cycles. Perhaps the platonic ideal of a perfect cast, the good boys and gals that brought LOTR to the big screen were a lot sillier than their highfalutin' Tolkein-style dialogue would have you believe, and getting the chance to see them all together again showing off their Fellowship tattoos and arguing about who suffered the most in costume for Josh Gad's Reunited Apart reunion series is just delightful. Come for the iconic scene reenactments, stay for everyone showing off the props they "borrowed" from the set. -- Emma Stefansky
That Thing You Do!
The reunion that brought the One-ders -- excuse me, The Wonders -- together once again was tinged with sadness. The idea to get the band back together from Tom Hanks' 1996 comedy That Thing You Do! generated after the COVID-related death of Adam Schlesinger, the Fountains of Wayne musician who wrote the movie's incredibly catchy title song. Still, there was much joy and fun to be had as Tom Everett Scott, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, and Ethan Embry gathered over Zoom to watch the theatrical cut of the movie dressed in crisp white shirts and black ties. Colin Hanks, Tom's son who has a bit part in the movie, even popped in. -- EZ
Now that the X-Men movie series has moved under the Marvel corporate umbrella as part of Disney's purchase of Fox, the Hugh Jackman-led franchise is mostly dead. (The long-delayed spin-off The New Mutants will still come out… eventually.) So, there might not be a ton of nostalgia for the often loopy, confusing superhero franchise, but this is more of a sketch than a traditional reunion anyway, with Ryan Reynolds crashing a Zoom between some of the 2000 original's core cast members, including Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, and Famke Janssen. Stick around for one final goofy cameo at the end. -- DJ
Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.