It's been hard to imagine what a "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" remake would look like with less comedy, a glaringly non-'90s setting, and a distinct lack of Will Smith ever since the project was first announced. But we're this much closer to finding out anyway! Complete with a very serious-sounding title, Peacock's "Bel-Air" is described as a "contemporary reimagining of the beloved and culture defining 90s sitcom" and has formally announced its full main cast. Check out all the details below.
Out with the old, in with the new! The series regulars for "Bel-Air" will be led by newcomer and West Philadelphia resident Jabari Banks, who plays Will. He will be joined by Adrian Holmes ("At That Age," "V Wars") as Phillip Banks, Cassandra Freeman ("The Enemy Within," "Atlanta") as Vivian Banks, Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks ("Run Hide Fight," "Evolution of Nate Gibson"), Coco Jones ("Let it Shine," "Vampires vs. The Bronx") as Hilary Banks, Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks ("We Can Be Heroes," "Captain Marvel"), Jimmy Akingbola ("Most Dangerous Game," "In The Long Run") as Geoffrey, Jordan L. Jones ("Rel," "Snowfall") as Jazz, and Simone Joy Jones ("The Chair," "What If") as Lisa.
The path to getting a rebooted "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" series has been an interesting one, to say the least. 25 years after the original series wrapped up its wildly successful run (it still lives on as endless reruns on syndication and is currently streaming on HBO Max), it was announced that this modernized update on "Fresh Prince" would trade in the show's '90s trappings and legendary comedy for something a little more serious and grounded. The idea for this reimagining came from Morgan Cooper's four-minute long "trailer" for a darker and more serious "spec trailer" that he released on YouTube that caught the eye of Will Smith himself. Cooper is now the director, co-writer, and executive producer on "Bel-Air" with T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson serving as co-showrunners.
Only last month, we heard that both the original showrunner Chris Collins ("The Wire," "The Sopranos," "Sons of Anarchy," "The Man in the High Castle") and his replacement Dianne Houston ("Empire") had parted ways with the production, but things seem to be running smoothly ever since. It remains a little odd to think that there would be any enthusiasm for "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as a general property rather than leftover audience goodwill stemming from fondness for the specific cast of the original series (as proven by the reaction towards last year's reunion special), but clearly those involved — including Will Smith himself, who serves as one of the executive producers — think otherwise.
"Bel-Air" will presumably release on Peacock's streaming service sometime in 2022. The synopsis for the series is as follows:
Set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the 90's sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" that leans into the original premise: Will's complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.
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