Jabari Banks as Will Smith in Bel-Air reboot teaser trailer feat
Peacock | Westbrook Studios | Universal Television

Our First Glimpse at ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Reboot

Over twenty years have passed, but we're finally getting more 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' next year.
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Fans got their first glimpse at Bel-Air, the reboot of The Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air, when the first teaser trailer dropped on November 23.

The Reboot Will Be a Darker Take

The trailer shows us Jabari Banks taking on the role of Will Smith.

Bel-Air is based on a fan film of the same name from 2019. The fan film focused on Will’s life in Philadelphia before he was sent to Bel-Air. Morgan Cooper, the writer and director of that film, will also be the director, executive producer, and co-writer of the Peacock series.

The short film quickly caught Will Smith’s attention. He called it “brilliant” and set up a video for his YouTube channel with Cooper.

Smith spoke with Cooper and Fresh Prince writer Mike Soccio about the possibility of a reboot and how it could be made with a different perspective.

“As funny as the episodes were, there was a whole layer there that you couldn’t do. The dramatic version of these ideas means that you can use existing storylines, but it’s not going to seem like you’re redoing an episode because the storyline is going to be brand new from the dramatic perspective.”

In a second video about the reboot, Smith spoke with Cooper on a Zoom call and announced that Peacock had picked up the series for a two-season order. Smith made sure to note that in his 30 years in the acting industry, he’d rarely seen that happen.

Cooper was quick to add that the show would add to the sitcom in a way that both fans of the original and newer fans would enjoy. “We’re really gonna peel back the layers of these iconic characters and explore this world in a really unforgettable way. It’s a show that’s really gonna surprise people in the best way possible.”

The Main Cast Is Already Set

Will Smith had the pleasure to tell Jabari Banks he had scored the lead role in Bel-Air. This will be Banks’s first on-screen acting credit. Banks also currently lives in West Philadelphia and raps, sings, writes music, and plays basketball in his downtime.

Uncle Phillip Banks will be portrayed by Adrian Holmes. Holmes is best known for his role as Michael Fayne in V-Wars. The late James Avery originally played the character.

Cassandra Freeman from The Enemy Within will play Aunt Vivian Banks. Vivian was initially played by Janet Hubert in the first three seasons of Fresh Prince before being replaced for the last three seasons by Daphne Maxwell Reid.

Our favorite dancing cousin, Carlton Banks, will be played by Olly Sholotan. Sholotan was Lewis Washington in Run Hide Fight and Lloyd in the short film Lloyd. Alfonso Ribiero was the original Carlton. We’re hoping his iconic dance is brought back in the reboot.

Will Smith as Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom season 1
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | The Stuffed Dog Company

In the reboot, Coco Jones will be playing Hilary Banks, Carlton’s sister and Will’s cousin. Jones came onto the scene with Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing music competition and Let It Shine. Hilary was initially played by Karyn Parsons.

Ashley Banks, another of Will’s cousins, will be portrayed by Akira Akbar. Akbar played the young Monica Rambeau in Captain Marvel and Fast Forward in We Can Be Heroes. Tatyana M. Ali played Ashley in the 90s sitcom.

Jimmy Akingbola from Most Dangerous Game will play Geoffrey the Butler in the reboot. Geoffrey was originally played by Joseph Marcell.

Will’s friend, Jazz, will be portrayed by Jordan L. Jones from South Central Love. Jazz was initially portrayed by Will Smith’s real-life bandmate, DJ Jazzy Jeff.

And last but not least, Lisa will be played by Simone Joy Jones. Jones recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and played young Vicky in 2011’s The Son of No One. Nia Long originally portrayed the character.

Who Else Is Attached to the Project?

Alfonso Ribiero and Will Smith as Carlton Banks and Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | The Stuffed Dog Company

Will Smith is one of the executive producers of the series. In addition, Westbrook Studios, which Smith owns with Jada Pinkett Smith, is one of the production companies behind the show. Universal Television is the other production company.

Cooper, the fan film creator that sparked the reboot, is an executive producer, director, and co-writer. The other writer of the series is Chris Collins. Collins previously wrote for Sons of Anarchy.

The showrunners are T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired for six seasons between 1990 and 1996. It followed a fictionalized Will Smith as he is sent from West Philadelphia to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air. It made Will Smith a household name and catapulted him to the extensive career he has.

The series is set to debut in 2022.