Now, this is a story all about how Will Smith’s life “got flipped-turned upside down.” But unlike the classic sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, there’s not a lot to laugh about in the first trailer for the modern reboot, Bel-Air. Peacock has finally debuted the first footage from Bel-Air, which features Jabari Banks as the replacement for both Will Smith the character and Will Smith the actor. And while the original theme song hinted at Will’s troubles in West Philadelphia, the clips shown here depict a horrific incident that threatened to claim Will’s life.
The rest of the video introduces Will’s extended West Coast family, Phillip and Vivian Banks, as well as their children, Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley. Even Geoffrey gets a more dignified job title — and last name — than “butler.” Instead, the reboot’s Geoffrey Thompson is “house manager” for the lavish Banks estate. Will’s friend, Jazz, is also present, and warns him to make sure that life in Bel-Air doesn’t change who he really is.
Although Will seems to initially embrace his change of scenery, the trailer also shows us that Will’s adjustment period will be bumpy. Will’s athletic gifts are without question, but he seems to be having difficulty staying out of trouble. Uncle Phil appears to hold Will at an emotional distance, and yet he does want his nephew to make the most of his second chance. It’s Will’s life, and he doesn’t always make the best choices.
Bel-Air actually began as a joke. Indie filmmaker Morgan Cooper created a parody video that reimagined Fresh Prince as a modern drama. That led to actual interest in a real Fresh Prince reboot, and a bidding war for Bel-Air, before Peacock won the rights to the series.
Adrian Holmes co-stars in the series as Phillip Banks, with Cassandra Freeman as Vivian Banks, Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks, Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks, Jimmy Akingbola as Geoffrey Thompson, Jordan L. Jones as Jazz, and Simone Joy Jones as Lisa.
The real Will Smith is executive producing Bel-Air alongside Fresh Prince creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, as well as Quincy Jones and Benny Medina. Peacock will premiere the first three episodes on February 13 after the conclusion of the Super Bowl.