Nostalgia seems to be in the air as TV networks and movie producers keep reaching back to the past for programming ideas. Reboots have been all the rage lately, from live-action remakes of Disney classics to revivals of popular TV shows such as “Who’s the Boss?” and “Gossip Girl.”
Now, one of the biggest names in movies and television, Will Smith, appears to be on board for a reboot of the ’90s show that made Smith a household name: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
But fans of the popular sitcom, which ran from 1990 to 1996, might be in for a surprise, as this new version looks like it could have a darker side.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith was inspired by an original video that was created and posted to YouTube by Morgan Cooper, a mega-fan of the original “Fresh Prince.” Smith has now reportedly been developing the idea for the series for over a year since the video went viral in March 2019.
Cooper’s 4-minute trailer for “Bel-Air” paints a more dramatic story than what was seen in Smith’s easy, breezy, hip-hop original series. Check out Cooper’s impressive work in the YouTube video:
Right off the bat, fans may notice that Will’s fight in his hometown of Philadelphia is more than just a little playground scuffle. In fact, Will gets arrested for illegally carrying a gun.
Following his arrest, Will has to move to Bel-Air, California to live with his uncle (a lawyer) and his family. But in this version, California is not all sunshine and surf for the “fresh prince” who was born and raised in West Philadelphia.
“‘Bel-Air’ is a reimagining, a re-interpretation of this incredible story and bringing into modern-day,” Cooper explained in a YouTube video posted by Will Smith.
It was this shift in tone and focus that prompted Smith to get on board with a new dramatic version of the series, which will reportedly explore the issues facing Black men in today’s America. Smith is eager to tell stories that weren’t possible back during the series’ original run.
“As funny as the [original] episodes are, there was a whole other layer that you couldn’t do,” Smith said in his reaction video. “In a one-hour drama, you can do eight-episode arcs.”
Many of the show’s original production team will be part of the dramatic reboot, including producer Quincy Jones, and Smith will serve as an executive producer as well. Cooper will also be credited as a co-executive producer, and he will co-write the script alongside showrunner Chris Collins.
HBO Max is currently streaming the original series, though Peacock, Netflix and HBO Max are all reportedly bidding on the new “Bel-Air” series. Since the show is currently in its developmental stage, there is no word yet on who might star in the new series.
Looks like it’ll be the same beloved “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” just flipped and turned upside-down.