In another case of “we can’t think of anything original, so we are going for another reboot”, word is out now that Will Smith’s popular sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is coming back as a reboot. But what makes this notion at least a little more palatable is that this take on the Fresh Prince is going to be quite different from Will Smith’s version. It’s not a comedy.
Inspiration comes in many forms and thus was it for the former star of the Fresh Prince. Will Smith saw a four-minute video that filmmaker Morgan Cooper put together and since that time, over a year ago, pen has been put to paper to reinvent the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a drama.
Here is the four-minute trailer, titled Bel-Air, written and directed by Cooper, that caused the reboot. While we may have been a bit snarky at the start of this story, the trailer doesn’t look half bad. Maybe this reboot is reboot worthy. Smith and Cooper may be on to something here.
The original sitcom ran for six years back in the ‘90s and starred Will Smith as, well, Will Smith, a young street-smart kid from the West Philadelphia who is sent by his mother to live with his Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian in hopes he doesn’t fall onto the wrong side of the tracks. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sit-com was a staple of ‘90s viewing and also starred Alfonso Ribeiro, James Avery, Tatyana Ali, and Karyn Parsons. It also made a name of Smith’s music partner DJ Jazzy Jeff and created the dance craze, the Carlton Dance. Check it out below.
This new take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is going to be decidedly different from the sitcom. It is going to be a darker look at first, life in Philly, and then in Bel-Air. That doesn’t mean it will be all doom and gloom. Yes, it’ll be a departure from the sitcom, this one intending to explore the conflicts, biases, and emotions surrounding being a Black man in America today. But the show also promises to give some light with the dark as it plans to deliver some fun nods to the original show. Yes, there will be a Carlton. Does he do the dance? Well, that remains to be seen.
Not only is Will Smith going to be part of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot, he is on board as an executive producer, the other original series producers, Quincy Jones and Benny Medina, will also be returning, as well as the original series creators, Andy and Susan Borowitz, who come on board as executive producers. Chris Collins takes the reigns as the reboot series showrunner and executive producer and he is also to co-write the script alongside Cooper. As for Cooper’s part, besides co-writing the script, he will also direct and hold the title of executive producer.
With Will Smith still carrying a ton of Hollywood clout, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot series is already out being shopped at some of the big networks and streaming services. The Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max are said to be in the running with HBO Max possibly with an edge as the streaming service is currently the home for the original series.
This whole thing came to light when Cooper, a professed Fresh Prince superfan, decided to create a gritty, dramatic, contemporary reimagining of the sitcom. Once Smith saw the product, he quickly tracked down Cooper for an interview. “I saw the trailer that Morgan Cooper hooked up and it’s called, Bel-Air,” Smith said at the start. “This was the first time that I heard something and was like ‘Yo, that’s an idea that is brilliant.'”