Peacock's Bel-Air: 6 Quick Things We Know About The Fresh Prince Reboot

Jabari Banks in the teaser trailer for Bel-Air.
(Image credit: Peacock)

As someone who grew up watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith, the idea of a dramatic reboot was something that never crossed my mind, until that viral video two years ago. But soon, after word started to go around of a remake of the show, with a whole new cast, I was curious. And now, we have some more information about the upcoming dramatic version of the classic sitcom, Bel-Air

While there isn’t that much information out about the show yet, there’s still plenty to look forward to in terms of when Bel-Air might be premiering, how many seasons it’s going to have, who will star, and far more. Here are some quick things we know about Peacock’s upcoming Bel-Air. 

The Peacock Logo

(Image credit: Peacock/NBCUniversal)

Bel-Air Will Arrive On Peacock In 2022

While The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired on NBC proper (largely, I imagine, because there wasn't another option at the time), it’s been confirmed that Bel-Air is only going to be streaming on Peacock as one of the streaming site's exclusives, releasing sometime in 2022.

It’s not a surprise that something like this would happen. With how many new streaming services there are, plenty of new original shows have come out, like the Apple TV+ shows (such as Ted Lasso or See), and the Disney+ original shows (like The Mandalorian or all the MCU shows). 

Since Peacock is relatively new to the streaming game compared to others, it makes sense that those in charge would want to nab a prestige show like this for their exclusive content.

Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

(Image credit: NBC)

Bel-Air Is Already Set To Have Two Seasons

Luckily, fans who are already looking forward to Bel-Air before Season 1 comes out have even more good news to enjoy. According to NME, the show has already been ordered for two seasons. 

While we know the first season is coming out in 2022, we don’t know when Season 2 might premiere, or the episode count each season might have. However, let’s just get to Season 1 first and so we can begin to see how this story plays out. 

Will Smith and Janet Hubert on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

(Image credit: NBC)

Bel-Air Will Be A Dramatic Reimagining Of The Original Sitcom

If you didn’t know, Bel-Air isn’t going to be the comedy that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was. Instead, Bel-Air is going to be a dramatic retelling of the original show, leaning into that same premise that we know and love, but going deeper into modern day themes surrounding it. 

In the show, our lead is still Will, and he does hail from Philadelphia, moving to Bel-Air to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. However, now the show will have more freedom to dive deeper into the conflicts of growing up in an area very different from the one you relocate to, from the emotions someone would feel, to the biases that occur because of race, class, and more. 

Morgan Cooper, one of the directors, co-writers and executive producers of Bel-Air, said that their goal was to honor the spirit of the original while also going deeper into the characters that we all remember so well: 

With this dramatic reimagining, we wanted to create a show that stands on its own while honoring the spirit and innovation of the original series. Because Bel-Air is a drama, we're able to really peel back the layers of these characters and themes in a way that you simply couldn't do 30 years ago in the half-hour sitcom format. We're able to go have tough conversations that challenge perspectives. At its core, Bel-Air is a celebration of the black experience through the perspective of a family.

While I will always have a special place in my heart for the comedy of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I can agree that a dramatic version of the show might work very well, and tell a really interesting story that’s relevant to today. 

Will Smith and his castmates in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

(Image credit: NBC)

Bel-Air Will Have One-Hour Long Episodes - Unlike The Original

Something that’s also changed from the original is that Bel-Air’s episode format will be different. Instead of the half-hour long episodes The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had, the new series will instead have serialized, one hour episodes. 

This isn’t that much of a surprise, considering what the storytellers are trying to do with these characters. Hopefully, that extra bit of time will make us love Will, Uncle Phil, and the others even more.  

Jabari Banks in the teaser for Bel-Air.

(Image credit: Peacock)

Bel-Air Has Cast Will, Along With The Rest Of The Main Characters 

Obviously, you can’t have Bel-Air without the prince of it. Will Smith’s character - aptly named Will - is going to be played by newcomer to Hollywood, Jabari Banks, who’s originally from West Philadelphia. Banks actually talked Entertainment Weekly about the role, and how much it means to him. 

Growing up, people always told me I resembled Will and his energy. When I got the call, they said, 'This isn't Will Smith, superstar.' They weren't going for that. And so when they chose me, it took me a couple of weeks to realize that they chose me for me — for what I do. I just had to lean into my instincts and everything that I've learned from my experiences, and there's so many parallels between me and Will, the character.

Will’s character isn’t the only one who has been cast. The whole Banks family has been filled for Bel-Air. Adrian Holmes will play Phillip, Cassandra Freeman will play Vivian, Olly Sholotan will play Carlton, Coco Jones will play Hilary, and Akira Akbar will played Ashley. 

Additionally, the role of Geoffrey, the Banks family’s butler, will be played by Jimmy Akingboila. Will’s best friend, Jazz, will be played by Jordan L. Jones, and Lisa (one of Will’s girlfriends in the original show) will be played by Simone Joy Jones. 

Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

(Image credit: NBC)

Will Smith Is Acting As One Of Bel-Air’s Executive Producers

It’s probably no shock that Will Smith, the leading man of the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is working as an executive producer for Bel-Air. From what has come out, Smith is excited about the upcoming reboot, and even personally told Jabari Banks about the great news in a Zoom call, which was released on YouTube. 

Will Smith has been open to the idea of a reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for some time. During a 2017 interview on The Graham Norton Show, the host asked about a reboot of the series and Smith jokingly replied that he’d have to play Uncle Phil now: 

I’d have to be Uncle Phil in that one. I’m about to be 50, you know. Like, ‘Come on Aunt Viv, I’m 50, I can’t go out on my own?'

It’s funny to see that years later, he’s working on a brand-new version of the show, super eager to get started and to show the world a different side of the Fresh Prince never seen before. 

Jabari Banks in the teaser for Bel-Air.

(Image credit: Peacock)

Watch The Bel-Air Teaser Now 

If you haven’t seen the Bel-Air teaser yet, be sure to check it out below.

With Bel-Air getting added onto the 2022 TV premiere dates, I’m eager to see where this reboot goes, and how much more story we are going to be getting. I, for one, can’t wait to see the prince take his throne again for more serious stories. The only real question is if the new theme song will be as great as the old one.

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.