The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast is back together! Will Smith posed with the cast of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air celebrating the show’s 30th anniversary on Thursday, for HBO Max’s upcoming reunion special.
The Aladdin actor took to Instagram, sharing a wholesome picture of the gang, writing, “Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted!” Smith wrote. “So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax!” announced the actor excitedly.
Smith also paid tribute to the late James Avery, who died at the age of 68 in 2014. He portrayed the role of the beloved Uncle Phil on the show “RIP James,” he wrote in memory of the actor. “#FreshPrince30th.” The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons from 1990 to 1996.
“This reunion thing will never happen in my lifetime”
In the first picture, Smith can be seen smiling in a group photo with former co-stars Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Smith also posted a picture of him sitting down with Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv for three seasons. Before she was replaced by Maxwell Reid amid bad blood with Smith and producers.
Hubert, who previously criticized both the show and Smith, had a touching candid conversation with the actor for the first time in 27 years as part of the emotional reunion. In the past, the actress has slammed Smith for being an “egomaniac” and for being responsible for her firing from Fresh Prince. Smith hit back at the time claiming that Hubert wanted the show to be “The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air.” At one point, the actress even went so far as to say “This reunion thing will never happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology. Which he doesn’t know the word.” But now it seems like the two were willing to put aside their differences and get together.
The special, which is being touted as a “funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and more special surprise guests,” will premiere on the US streaming service HBO Max in November.
News of the reunion comes after Smith revealed that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is being rebooted and has been picked up for two seasons by NBC’s streaming service Peacock. However it will now be a drama called Bel-Air. Will took to Instagram to share the happy news with his fans, in a lengthy post.
“18 months ago, a young filmmaker from Kansas City @cooperfilms uploaded a video on YouTube re-imagining The @freshprince of Bel-Air for present day as a DRAMA! Everybody sent it to me. It was outstanding. I had NEVER envisioned revisiting the Banks family in this way. We knew this was special, so we called @ryokanproductions and asked him to lead the team (he wrote on The Wire) and he said YES! Months of writing, developing and pitching… and now it’s happening. “Bel-Air” got a TWO SEASON order, debuting in 2021 on @nbc’s streaming service @peacocktv. Morgan Cooper and Chris Collins, you are THE TRUTH!!”
“Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases”
As for the new series, according to Peacock, Bel-Air will be set in the modern era and is a serialized one-hour dramatic adaptation of the ’90s sitcom starring Smith. The show will lean into the series’ original premise, following Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. But in a much more serious and gritty manner.
“With a re imagined 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,” a press release read.
The special is developed by Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s media company Westbrook Media. It is being directed by Marcus Raboy and executive-produced by show-runner Rikki Hughes, Miguel Melendez, Lukas Kaiser, and Brad Haugen. The reunion will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic series by looking back at the show and the cultural impact it’s had since its debut.