2020 has been the year of the television reboot, marked by announcements that some of our favourite series would be brought back and reimagined for the new generation; we’re getting a revamped, culturally diverse Gossip Girl (finally), a continuation of Disney Channel original The Proud Family, and another Rugrats spinoff. Superstar Will Smith now wants in on the reboot trend, so we might be taking a trip back to Bel-Air sooner that we thought.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Smith has signed on to executive produce a remake of his hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The project, which is is currently being shopped to multiple networks, will be based on a viral trailer created by writer and director (and Fresh Prince super-fan) Morgan Cooper in 2019 that reimagined the NBC comedy series as a drama titled Bel-Air.
Whereas the original series followed Smith's eponymous character on his mischief-filled journey to becoming the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the developing show puts a dark spin on the lead's backstory. In Bel-Air, that infamous scuffle mentioned in the theme song actually lands Will behind bars — police discover that he's illegally carrying a weapon with him and take him into custody — and his mother quickly ships him off to the Banks' family in Los Angeles to prevent him from serving jail sentence. Far away from the community he knows and loves, Will initially struggles to adjust to his new environment, but the love of his family and friends helps him find his place and his throne.
Smith took notice of Cooper's trailer and was inspired about the retelling, so much so that he reached out to the young creative to talk about working together.
"What's exciting to me is the new media of it all," Smith told Cooper in a reaction video shared on his YouTube channel. "Even for you to create a pitch video is in keeping with the idea of how the idea [for Fresh Prince] originally came to me."
The pair will team up for Bel-Air, and they will be joined by some of the OG show's team members. THR reports that original series producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina as well as creators Andy & Susan Borowitz will work alongside Smith as exec producers. Cooper will write the script with Chris Collins (The Wire, Crash, Sons of Anarchy), who will also serve as its showrunner.
Bel-Air is still in its development stage, so there are no whispers about who could possibly take up Smith's star-making role in the reboot. But knowing that the Fresh Prince himself is onboard with the remake puts me at ease — there's no way it won't be good.