Skip to main content

Peacock's Bel-Air Revealed Who's Playing Will Smith's Mom And Many Other New Cast Members

Colonel Lauren Haley on Supergirl
(Image credit: The CW)

I think we can all agree that Peacock’s upcoming drama Bel-Air is already one of the most unexpected TV reboots to ever exist, as the ‘90s Will Smith sitcom classic is being served up anew as a tension-filled drama. Part of the fun of this project’s development process has been waiting for new details and reveals to surface, such as that banger of a trailer, obviously for the purposes of comparing it all to the original series. Outside of the core ensemble, one of the most familiar Fresh Prince characters we hadn’t heard much about yet was Viola Smith, the mom who sent Will across the country after his basketball court fracas. Until now, that is.

Peacock dropped quite the large casting announcement less than a month ahead of Bel-Air’s highly awaited debut on Super Bowl Sunday. And for longtime fans, the biggest reveal in the bunch is that Supergirl and If Loving You Is Wrong alum April Parker Jones has been cast to take over the role of Vy, older sister of Cassandra Freeman’s Vivian Banks and doting mother of newcomer Jabari Banks’ Will. It appears the teen’s brawl hinted at in the theme song was serious enough to cause Vy to think that the best way to protect Will was to ship him off to live with Phil and Viv, even though the two sisters have not spoken in years. 

That doesn’t bode well for future appearances being as chuckle-worthy as Vernee Watson’s Vy was during the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s six-season run. Granted, the sisters didn’t have the most easygoing relationship in the sitcom — who can ever live easy when there’s always the fear of Jenifer Lewis’ Aunt Helen delivering a verbal smackdown? — but it’ll be interesting to explore the familial rifts within Bel-Air’s reimagined storyline

Leo on walkie in The Walking Dead: World Beyond

(Image credit: AMC)

As mentioned, April Parker Jones definitely wasn't the only new cast member announced, and Vy Smith also wasn’t the only familiar character confirmed to be returning, as it were. The Walking Dead: World Beyond star Joe Holt was tapped to portray Police Chief Fred Wilkes, the father of Will’s eventual love interest Lisa. The Wilkes and Banks families go way back on the social scene, but it doesn’t sound like everything’s hunky dory. Holt has some big shoes to fill, too, with the legendary John Amos having recurred as Fred in the Fresh Prince sitcom.

Let’s run down the rest of these casting reveals. 

  • NCIS vet Scottie Thompson will play Fred Wilkes' new wife Angela, who works as an interior designer when she's not figuring out how she fits into her new family.
  • Real Husbands of Hollywood vet Duane Martin, whose Scream 2 role has been revisited aplenty as of late, will play Steven Lewis, the well-seasoned campaign manager for Phil in his attempts to become the D.A.
  • Queen Sugar's SteVonté Hart will play the West Philly-set Tray Melbert, Will's best friend and former basketball teammate who gets caught up in dangerous struggles after Will moves away.
  • Single Drunk Female's Charlie Hall will play the envelope-pushing class clown Tyler Laramy, one of Will's new BFFs at Bel-Air Academy.
  • 13 Reasons Why's Tyler Barnhardt is set to play Carlton's best friend Connor Satterfield, the most popular kid at the Academy, who takes an interest in causing strife with Will.
  • Claws’ Karrueche Tran will portray Ivy, a highly popular social media influencer who takes Hilary under her wing.
  • Animal Kingdom's Jon Beavers will recur as Kylo, another social media influencer attempting to help Hilary out.

For anyone who hasn't seen the show's first full-length trailer yet, check it out below!

Bel-Air will make its grand debut on Peacock on Sunday, February 13, with the first three episodes available that day, and follow-up episodes releasing weekly. While waiting to see how things shake out on the West Coast, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see all the other new and returning shows popping up in the coming months.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.