There is a new prince of Bel Air! The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot, simply titled Bel-Air, promises lots of drama, a more serious tone and even more insight into the life of its lead character, Will Smith.
While actor Will Smith portrayed the titular character on the original ‘90s sitcom, which was based on his own journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, the Peacock series is set to give the story a modern-day twist.
The release of Morgan Cooper’s 2019 short film, Bel-Air — in which he rethought Smith’s life and the comedy show as a dramatic tale — gave life to the upcoming series.
“There’s so many layers to these characters,” Cooper told Smith and writer Chris Collins in September 2020 after learning that the new-and-improved show got picked up. “We’re really going to peel back the layers of these iconic characters. We’re going to explore this world in an unforgettable way. It’s a show that’s really going to surprise people in the best way possible.”
Collins noted at the time that the reboot is “so personal to [Will] and [his] journey as an artist,” but it will also give viewers a way to tap into the world they know now by “getting us back to humanity.”
Bel-Air will star newcomer Jabari Banks as the Philly native who must find his way in the wealthy L.A. neighborhood of Bel Air. He has big shoes to fill, but the Men in Black actor has already signed on to guide him.
“You got a fantastic road ahead of you,” Smith told Banks in an August 2021 Instagram video after announcing him as the show’s lead. “I am looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life and your career.”
Banks replied, “This is a dream come true. The way the show has impacted me and my life, it’s incredible to hear you say that. Thank you so much. I am so grateful.”
Three months later, Peacock dropped the first teaser for the fresh series, in which Will’s life will be more relatable to kids of today.
“At its heart, Bel-Air is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength and love of the Black family,” showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement in November 2021. “We have stayed true to the original premise of the legacy series — Will’s life is turned upside down after he is forced to leave West Philly and lands in Bel Air with its gated mansions and wealth.”
The duo noted that the new series, however, “brings Will and the Banks family into the world as we know it now,” explaining that it’s been “incredible to bring these iconic characters to life when you tap them into the cultural pulse of our time.”
Brady and Newson concluded: “The series was the fabric of so many of our upbringings, tied to memories and the joy of seeing ourselves represented on TV, so it is important to us to pay respect to its legacy.”
Scroll down to learn everything there is to know so far about Bel-Air: