What was once a viral faux-trailer has turned into a Peacock series as the streaming service has unveiled its trailer for Bel-Air, a “dramatic reimagining” of the Will Smith-starring sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
You know the story (and the theme song): A West Philly teenager named Will Smith gets in trouble with the local gangs and is sent to live with his rich uncle’s family in the ritzy Los Angeles enclave. The reboot sticks close to the sitcom’s fish-out-of-water plotline while dealing with the subject matter in a more realistic, heavier, and contemporary tone.
The first three of 10 hourlong episodes of Bel-Air will stream Feb. 13, Super Bowl Sunday, on Peacock, with new episodes to follow weekly.
The series was inspired by the 2019 fake trailer — created by cinematographer Morgan Cooper, who now serves as director and co-writer on Bel Air — that turned the Nineties sitcom into a contemporary drama.
“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,” Cooper said in a statement. “My approach to the series started with a deep focus on tone and really being intentional with my creative choices… 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.”
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Additionally, Will Smith is an executive producer on Bel-Air, and one of his tasks was finding a charismatic young actor who can take over the role of “Will Smith.”
“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,” co-showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson said in a statement. “Our creative team, including Will Smith, recognized that Jabari embodied the talent, charisma, and sheer swagger necessary to make this iconic role his own.”