Why The New Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Show Is More Of A ‘Reimagining’ Than A Reboot, According To Alfonso Ribeiro

Carlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro) and Will Smith (himself) look curious on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

CinemaBlend participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history, so many were likely surprised when it was revealed that a new, dramatic iteration of the show had entered development. While the new show will definitely bear similarities to the original show, it’s apparent that it’s going to be quite different in a number of ways. Fresh Prince alum Alfonso Ribeiro recently shared some thoughts on the matter, even explaining why he prefers to refer to it as more of a “reimagining” than a reboot.

With so many different film and TV properties having returned over the past several years, words like “reboot” and “remake” have become commonplace. Alfonso Ribeiro is conscious of that fact and, while discussing Peacock’s Bel-Air, he sought to make the distinction between “reboot” and “reimagining” clear:

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.

Alfonso Ribeiro makes a fair point. A reboot would imply a property’s original characters and all of its original collaborators would be returning to continue the stories told in that universe. Peacock’s Saved by the Bell would be a prime example of this. However, Bel-Air will only take the motif and premise that was established by Will Smith’s ‘90s sitcom. During the same interview with E!, Ribeiro continued to share his thoughts on the upcoming series:

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. I have nothing to do with it so I don't really know anything more…But I actually appreciate it even more than a reboot. Let's take a concept and turn it into a different show.

In the midst of emphasising the differences between the two shows, Alfonso Ribeiro also expressed his interest in seeing how the show pans out. This lines up with the thoughts of his former co-star, Tatyana Ali, who was excited by the concept of the show. Likewise, Daphne Maxwell Reid also told us that she’s interested in the idea of a dramatic version of their classic show. You can stream that show on HBO Max, which you can sign up for using this link.

Bel-Air was inspired by a viral trailer made by filmmaker Morgan Cooper, who sought to present the show as a drama as opposed to a comedy. The footage caught the attention of Will Smith, who helped will (sorry) the project into existence, as Peacock has picked up the show for two full seasons. Morgan Cooper is serving as director, co-writer and executive producer, while Smith also serves as an executive producer.

One can only imagine what Morgan Cooper and his collaborators will do with Bel-Air. But it can certainly be said that he, at the very least, has the public’s attention, including that of former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air stars like Alfonso Ribeiro.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.