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First Bel-Air Trailer Gives ‘Will Smith’ A Darker Origin Story And Turns Carlton Into A Badass

Fans have been singing the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for as many years as the beloved sitcom has been around, but I can’t imagine that many people expected the day to come when the events described in said theme song would get repurposed for a dramatic new tale centered on the fictional Will Smith. That day isn’t quite here yet, but Peacock has unveiled its first full-length trailer for the upcoming drama Bel-Air, and it does a solid job of transforming just about every familiar element into something far less friendly for studio audiences. Heavy is the head that wears the prince’s crown in this universe. 

With newcomer Jabari Banks front and center as Bel-Air’s Will Smith, it quickly becomes obvious why this new interpretation eschewed the first half of the sitcom’s title, as Will does not just sashay into his swanky new California home rocking bizarro ‘90s fashion. He is most certainly not automatically set to sit in any thrones, either, as few seem to be viewing the new arrival as anything resembling royalty. Which all ties into how and why Will was sent to the West Coast to begin with. 

As hinted at in the iconic theme song, Will got into a fight on a basketball court, presumably with some guys who started making trouble in his neighborhood. The trailer somewhat justifies why Will’s mom might have become scared about the situation and shipped him off, as Will went to jail and at least one person involved in that altercation is invested in getting revenge.

Thankfully for Will, the Banks family appears to be a formidable force on their own, even if it seems he’ll have to dedicate himself to winning everyone’s favor, from his family to everyone at his new school. We have the intimidatingly powerful Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes), the warm-hearted and stylish Aunt Viv (Cassandra Freeman), the smiling sisters Hilary (Coco Jones) and Ashley (Akira Akbar), the polished “house manager” Geoffrey (Jimmy Akingbola), and a far more self-assured and badass Carlton (Olly Sholotan).

Will and Carlton in the library on Bel-Air

(Image credit: Peacock)

After so many years of watching Alfonso Ribeiro’s dance-filled performances, it’s going to be weird to see Carlton oozing pride and bravado, and to see him as one of the pillars of the high school that presumably helps ease Will into the student body without causing much strife. (Strife will always exist on the basketball court, though.) It’ll be interesting to see how Carlton and the other characters pay homage to their original iterations, even if it doesn’t involve a love of Tom Jones ditties. 

Another familiar-esque presence in the trailer is Will’s best friend Jazz, with the two arriving at the Banks’ mansion together in a most impressed fashion, fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror and all. No sign of how many times Jazz will get thrown out of the house in this new interpretation, but I’m guessing it won’t be nearly as comical if it happens on Bel-Air.

As adapted from the dramatically reimagined trailer crafted by Morgan Cooper, Bel-Air boasts Cooper as a co-writer, director and executive producer, with Will Smith also taking on an EP role as well as showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson. One of the best things about the Peacock pick-up is that fans are already guaranteed two seasons, so here’s hoping this first one is as good as we’re anticipating. 

Bel-Air will at last make its highly anticipated debut on Peacock on Sunday, February 13, with the first three episodes dropping all at once, with future episodes streaming once a week. While waiting for the freshest of the fresh reboots to arrive, head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see all the new and returning shows debuting soon!

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.