Ever wondered how Will really became the prince of a town called Bel-Air? This new re-imagining takes us back to where it all started: West Philadelphia and, as the new trailer reveals, the reboot is set to be a lot darker than the original comedy.
Another day, another reboot of a 90s classic. But following hot on the heels of Changing Rooms, The Craft and The Addams Family is a remake we’re truly excited about: Bel-Air. (Yes, of The Fresh Prince fame.)
Back in September 2020, the show’s original star, Will Smith, announced on his YouTube channel that US streaming service Peacock had committed to the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air re-imagining in an “unprecedented” two-season deal. Now, we finally have a long-awaited first look at the upcoming series which is far from the quotable comedy it’s based upon.
The brand new trailer reveals that while Will’s arrival in Bel-Air is welcomed by the family, not everything is entirely as glitzy and carefree as it seems. In the opening scenes of a busy garden party, Will’s cousin Carlton Banks (Olly Sholotan) says: “I hope one day we can talk about why you’re really here.”
A flashing montage reveals that Will was violently apprehended by the police, ended up in jail and consequently, has someone after him. Jeffrey Thomson (Jimmy Akingbola) is the family house manager who is already aware of Will’s chequered past back in West Philadelphia but it seems as though Will continues to pine for his past life.
As he joins a new school, attempts to make new friends alongside popular Carlton and faces scrutiny for being “a boy who doesn’t want to be saved,” it’s clear that this new series will be following Will as he attempts to live out this second chance. As he says in the trailer: “There’s no going back.”
It’s a far cry from the witty one-liners and hilarious scenes of the original sitcom but this reboot provides a more serious backstory for its protagonist – we can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
Watch the trailer here:
Newcomer singer-songwriter Jabari Banks will be filling the shoes as the loveable rogue and Smith announced the casting in a recorded video call with Banks last August.
“It is an absolute pleasure to meet you, to be on here with you. From the deepest parts of my heart I want to say congratulations to you… you have the role of Will on Bel-Air!” Smith said with excitement.
Fans of the classic 90s sitcom should expect some differences from the original. Bel-Air will be a serialised one-hour drama version, following the lead character’s move from West Philadelphia to the very different community of Bel-Air.
Peacock added: “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.”
Alongside newcomer Banks, Bel-Air will star Adrian Holmes and Cassandra Freeman as Philip and Vivian Banks, Will’s uncle and aunt. Coco Jones and Akira Akbar will also portray Carlton’s sisters Hilary and Ashley.
Smith’s Fresh Prince castmate Alfonso Ribeiro, who played uptight cousin Carlton Banks, also previously expressed how the new incarnation will be “totally different”.
“I like to call it a reimagining. We sometimes throw a lot of things into one word, one concept. A reboot would be taking the actual show and characters and bringing it back. This is a totally different show,” he shared.
“It’s not even based on the show. It’s based on the theme song. It’s a completely different thing. It’s drama. It’s not comedy.”
Bel-Air is set to debut on Peacock on 13 February but the official UK release date is yet to be announced. Watch this space for updates but in the meantime, the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
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