The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot (or “reimagining”) has been in the works for a little while, and fans have likely been anxious to get more concrete details on the Peacock series. It was recently reported that Bel-Air was getting into the casting phase of the production process, and the series has now found its lead. So who will be taking the reins from Will Smith and become the new kid born and raised in West Philadelphia?
Will Smith and Peacock have confirmed that Bel-Air has cast newcomer Jabari Banks in the role of Will. Like Smith, Banks is a Philadelphia native, which likely gave him an edge while auditioning for the massive role. While it’s special enough to have landed the lead role in the new iteration of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Banks heard the news from Smith himself in a sweet Zoom moment. Check it out the video from Peacok’s YouTube channel down below:
Casting an unfamiliar face in the lead role makes a lot of sense, as it adds an additional layer of freshness to the upcoming project. Further casting updates have not been given just yet, but one would assume that Jabari Banks’ casting will be followed shortly by additional casting announcements. One casting that will be particularly interesting to learn is that of Carlton Banks, Will Smith’s preppy cousin who was perfectly played by Alfonso Ribeiro on the ‘90s series.
Bel-Air is set to be a contemporary take on the premise of the original Fresh Prince show and will be a one-hour drama as opposed to a half-hour sitcom. The series was born from filmmaker Morgan Cooper’s dramatic short film, which took the internet by storm in 2019. The video ultimately caught the attention of Will Smith, who became instrumental in getting the show picked up. The series, which received a two-season order from Peacock last year, will be directed, co-written and executive produced by Cooper, while creative duo T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson serve as the newly added showrunners. Smith also serves as one of the executive producers.
News of the revamp came amidst a wave of nostalgia for the show back in 2020. Not only were fans consuming reruns on HBO Max, but they were also treated to a long-hoped for reunion special from the streamer.
While some fans may be uneasy about a revival of such a beloved show, cast members of the original show seem intrigued by the idea. Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley Banks, believes it’s a “brilliant” idea. And former Aunt Viv actress Daphne Maxwell Reid told us she’s also curious to see how the show plays out.
It’ll be exciting to see what Jabari Banks and his future co-stars bring to this new version of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Banks in particular will have some big shoes to fill, but Will Smith definitely seems to be more than confident that the young man is up for the challenge.
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