Will Smith's ‘Fresh Prince’ Reboot Is Officially Happening—With a Dramatic Twist
Truly "twist-turned upside-down."
Update, September 8th, 2020, 3:25 p.m. ET: It's about to get twist-turned upside-down because the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot officially has a home and a two-season order. Will Smith has been working on a dramatic twist on the '90s sitcom, based on Morgan Cooper's video trailer that went viral last year. Now, according to Variety, Peacock has picked up the Fresh Prince reboot, called Bel-Air, and has given it a two-season order.
Smith announced the news today, September 8th, on YouTube, calling it an "unprecedented" order based on the quality of the pitch. Bel-Air will be set in modern-day, but it will still follow a teenager's move from West Philadelphia (born and raised!) to Bel-Air, California. This time around, it will lean much more dramatic than comedic.
In the meantime, Fresh Prince fans can catch the original cast with the show's upcoming reunion on HBO Max.
Original post, August 12th, 2020 10:13 a.m. ET: It wasn’t all fun and games for the Fresh Prince during his stay with Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv in Bel-Air. Will’s dad showed up only to leave him again. An episode highlighted racial discrimination and disparity when Will and Carlton ended up in jail. Heck, Will even got shot, and Carlton ended up buying a gun—dramatic stuff went down. Now, the real Will Smith is preparing a dramatic reboot of his beloved 1990s-era show, and this definitely isn’t the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air we know and love.
Smith caught wind of a 2019 viral fanmade movie trailer for a fictional flick called Bel-Air by director Morgan Cooper, and he wanted to bring the idea to fruition. Now, Smith and Cooper have teamed up and are bringing the ultra-dramatic Bel-Air to the small screen.
“Ever wonder what The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air might look like if it suddenly returned to the airwaves in 2019?” the trailer description on the Blockbuster GLOBAL YouTube channel reads. “Well, given Hollywood’s current penchant for giving everything a 'dark' and 'gritty' backstory, it would probably look quite a bit like this superbly made fan film by director Morgan Cooper.”
It continues, “Simply titled Bel-Air, it gives Will Smith’s young 'Will' a considerably more dire origin story while keeping all of the major Fresh Prince beats intact.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper will write, direct, and co-executive produce the series with original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air producers Smith, Quincy Jones, and Benny Medina, as well as creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, also executive producing.
Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max are all currently bidding for the streaming rights to the project.
In a March 2020 Instagram post, Cooper wrote of Bel-Air, “The exact tone, the visualization, everything hit me all at once...I was sooo hyped...I took a deep breath and said, "Okay, I'm gonna do this. I'm going to reinterpret the Fresh Prince through my lens and perspective. I've gotta do this, no matter what. No matter how crazy or out of reach this may seem to anyone, I'm going to do this."
We can’t wait to see Cooper’s full vision come to fruition.