Will Smith Just Did The Impossible: Bring Janet Hubert Back To Fresh Prince

Photo: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.
It’s been 24 long years since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired its final episode, but Will Smith and the rest of the Banks family are finally set to return to their storied Los Angeles mansion in an upcoming reunion. And the show’s leading man has an ace up his sleeve to guarantee that the reunion will be extra special: an appearance from the original Aunt Vivian.
HBO Max shared the trailer for the Fresh Prince reunion, showing the main cast members flocking back to the set of the 90s comedy to chat about their experience on the cultural mammoth. Smith was joined by Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the TV family dished on what made the series so special. Missing from the group was the late James Avery, who played the stern but loving patriarch Uncle Phil; Avery died in 2013 of complications from open-heart surgery.
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Just as the trailer was about to end, in walked Janet Hubert, better known as the original Aunt Viv. Fans of the show were excited but surprised to see the actress taking part in the reunion because she and Smith have spent the past two decades years embroiled in a very serious public beef. After starring in Fresh Prince for its first three season, Hubert was fired from the show, and Reid was brought into to take on the role of the Will's stylish maternal aunt. The move is still widely considered one of the worst TV switch ups of all time — is it just me, or did Aunt Viv's personality change, too? — but the show continued nonetheless, with Reid sticking it out until its series finale in 1996.
Though the reported reason for firing Hubert was she was "difficult to work with," the actress never forgave Smith and the show executives for replacing her on Fresh Prince. She took many opportunities to publicly slam the show and even swore to never to take part in a Fresh Prince reunion.
But if 2020 has taught us anything, it's that you can never say never — and here we are.When Hubert walks onto set, her former cast mates' eyes go wide.
"I couldn't celebrate 30 year of Fresh Prince without Janet," says Smith's voiceover in the trailer. It's almost like he knew we wouldn't be watching without. Good call, Will.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion will be available for streaming on November 19, only on HBO Max.

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