We finally get our first look at the new Will from Peacock’s upcoming BEL-AIR dramatic reboot produced by Will Smith.
The dramatic take on the iconic hit comedy sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith as Philly youth moving in relatives in the posh Los Angeles, California residential neighborhood after a run-in with local thugs gets its first teaser.
In the roughly one-minute clip titled “My Kingdom,” we see the new Will played by newcomer Jabari Banks fall into a pool of water. He is surrounded by floating items like basketballs, plus ATVs that are significant to his life in Philly, while the dice a call back to taxi cab’s “dice in the mirror” lyric represent his life in Bel-Air.
While all this is happening, Will Smith puts a more serious spin on his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air iconic theme song. Banks eventually sees a crown, swims towards it, and grabs it signifying a new life to come. He ultimately spots a thrown and sits on it, placing the crown on his head to become the “Prince of Bel-Air.”
Set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the 90’s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” that leans into the original premise: Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.
Speaking on the polarizing show, executive producers and co-showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson said:
At its heart, Bel-Air is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength and love of the Black family. We have stayed true to the original premise of the legacy series – Will’s life is turned upside down after he is forced to leave West Philly and lands in Bel-Air with its gated mansions and wealth. However, our new series brings Will and the Banks family into the world as we know it now. It’s been incredible to bring these iconic characters to life when you tap them into the cultural pulse of our time. The series was the fabric of so many of our upbringings, tied to memories and the joy of seeing ourselves represented on TV, so it is important to us to pay respect to its legacy.
During the development of Bel-Air, the most daunting question was: Could we find a young actor who’d be able to step into the role of Will Smith? Well, did we ever find him. His name is Jabari Banks, and he won our hearts in the same way he won this role. Our creative team, including Will Smith, recognized that Jabari embodied the talent, charisma, and sheer swagger necessary to make this iconic role his own.
Morgan Cooper, the show’s director, co-writer, and executive producer, added:
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.
My approach to the series started with a deep focus on tone and really being intentional with my creative choices. I’m inspired by a lot of things as a director; it could be a random conversation, memories from my past, it could be art, music, fashion. Everything can be inspiration, and having a two-season order gives us the opportunity to go infinitely deeper narratively, visually, and aesthetically. I think that with Bel-Air, we have created something unique and honest.
The series, based on Morgan Cooper’s viral fan film Bel-Air has no release date yet. It also stars Adrian Holmes as “Phillip Banks,” Cassandra Freeman as “Vivian Banks,” Olly Sholotan as “Carlton Banks,” Coco Jones as “Hilary Banks,” Akira Akbar as “Ashley Banks,” Jimmy Akingbola as “Geoffrey,” Jordan L. Jones as “Jazz,” and Simone Joy Jones as “Lisa.”
Step into the teaser trailer below.
Photo: NBC Peacock / Bel-Air