Will ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Original Cast Members Make an Appearance in the Reboot?

When actor Will Smith announced the beloved 90’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he turned the world upside down. Created by Andy and Susan Borowitz, the original sitcom aired on NBC for six seasons before ending in 1996. The show was a staple in Black households across America, with many tuning in every week to see the comical, street-smart teenager Will Smith play a fictionalized version of himself on the small-screen. When fans heard that the classic family sitcom would get a reboot, many asked if the original cast members would reprise their roles in the revival. 

The original ‘Fresh Prince’ cast will not return for the reboot 

Although Will Smith will serve as the executive producer for the reboot, there is no confirmation that the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast will reprise their role in the project. The reboot is titled Bel-Air and offers a modern take on the original comedy sitcom. Additionally, Bel-Air will feature a new cast. On Tuesday (Aug. 31), Peacock posted a video of Smith congratulating newcomer Jabari Banks on landing the role in the Bel-Air. Banks will play Will Smith in the revival.

According to the show’s logline, 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.”

In 2019, a short fan film based on the original sitcom later went viral on social media. The trailer caught Smith’s attention and inspired him to turn the story into a reboot. Written and directed by Morgan Cooper, the four-minute film had a much darker take on the 90s comedy series.

What makes the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ sitcom so iconic?

Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, James Avery, and Will Smith posing for a photoshoot in ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Season 2
(Back row L to R) Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro (Front row L to R) Tatyana Ali, James Avery, and Will Smith in ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Season 2 | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a comedy sitcom centered around an inner-city teenager (played by Will Smith) born and raised in West Philadelphia. After getting in a fight with kids in his neighborhood, his mother sends him to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle in their Bel-Air mansion. However, his lifestyle often clashes with his upper-class relatives. Additionally, the role catapulted Smith to stardom and made him a household name. 

The main cast consisted of Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), Ashley (Tatyana Ali), Hilary (Karyn Parsons), Uncle Philip (James L. Avery), Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell), and the original Aunt Viv (Janet Hubert). Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid and played the role to the show’s end. 

The show was a hit among Black audiences in the 1990s. Like its predecessors, The Cosby Show and Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air showcased an all-American Black family in a positive and progressive light. At the time, the show told universal stories that can span generations. Even decades later, the comedy sitcom has attracted a new generation of viewers through reruns on television and its availability on streaming services.

Who will play the Banks family in ‘Bel-Air’ reboot?

Morgan Cooper is set to serve as co-writer, director, and executive producer on Bel-Air. Furthermore, T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson will serve as co-showrunners following the departure of Chris Collins. Alongside Smith, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, the original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz will serve as executive producers. 

Peacock ordered two seasons for Bel-Air. The cast members for Uncle Phil, Aunt Vivian, Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley have not been announced yet. There is no set date for film production or an official release date for the revival. 

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