Fresh Prince reunion
HBO Max

Here’s Everything We Know About the Upcoming ‘Fresh Prince’ Reunion

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Now, this is the story all about how… an entire generation of humans can finish that line.

It’s been stuck in our heads for these last couple of months, as we’ve been teased with news of our favorite Bel-Air family’s return to TV.

First, there was the viral video of a gritty take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the news that Will Smith was partnering with its creator for a new dramatic spin-off.

Then there was the news that you could actually rent the Bel-Air mansion, now decked out in memorabilia from the show, for only $30 a night in October to commemorate Fresh Prince’s 30th anniversary.

And then we heard about the reunion special. Which we finally have a trailer for.

“You not ready for this trailer,” Smith says in the first seconds of the video, promoting the HBO Max special on November 19. “You couldn’t be ready for this trailer. Happy Thanksgiving.”

The reunion sees Smith alongside co-stars Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Vivian 2.0), and Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks)— as well as recurring co-star DJ Jazzy Jeff.

In the trailer, we see the cast gathering in that living room we all know and love, swapping stories of their times together on set.

“These are the people who made me the man I am today,” Smith wrote in an Instagram post on Friday. “And I couldn’t let this day go by without marking the occasion.”

In Loving Memory of Uncle Phil

Noticeably absent but incredibly missed is James Avery, who played father-figure Uncle Phil on the series. Avery passed away six years ago after complications from heart surgery. The trailer shows Smith telling a story about arguably the most emotional scene of the series — where Will tearfully asks Uncle Phil why his father didn’t want him.

Will Smith and James Avery
NBC

“James Avery was this six-foot-four Shakespearean beast,” Smith says. “And I wanted him to think I was good.”

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

Just kidding. I’m literally weeping as I write this.

It Was Almost a Very Different Show

Of course, Fresh Prince was nothing if not hilarious, so expect plenty of lighthearted moments too. In the trailer, Smith seems to rag on DJ Jazzy Jeff, who he claims rejected the role more than a few times in the beginning.

“I had no aspirations to act,” says Jeff. 

“Jeff turned down the show literally ten times,” says Smith.

“Will is very good at talking me into things,” adds Jeff. 

We also find out that Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played the second Aunt Viv, wasn’t so keen on the project initially, either.

“They said ‘We want you to audition for this new sitcom with a rapper.’ I said ‘Pass,’” she says, as we’re treated to Smith’s trademark raucous laughter. 

And in a shocking twist, we might learn what really happened to the original Aunt Viv. Janet Hubert has been outspoken in the past about being fired from the show after the third season. She’s claimed that this was due to a personal conflict with Smith. And it appears that he’s looking to set the record straight.

“I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without Janet,” he says as Hubert walks around a corner. The other cast members seem genuinely shocked. We’ll have to wait and see how much of that was clever editing when the special rolls around.

Expect All the Feels

We recently covered the huge impact and legacy that the original series had on its viewers. But does the cast fully grasp what a massive part of our lives it really was?

Based on the trailer, it certainly seems so.

“I didn’t realize how many people we were reaching,” we hear from Parsons.

“There will always be a piece of all of us in that living room,” says Ribeiro.

“Our show meant Black excellence to people,” Ali says. “That excellence was the way that we loved each other.”

We can’t wait to hear what else they have to say. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special will debut Thursday, November 19, on HBO Max.