The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is getting a brand new life thanks to the wide world of streamers—and one viral video. NBC’s streaming platform Peacock has picked up the series, which is a dramatic reimagining of the series based on a viral fan-made trailer, for two seasons. The series, shorted to a more dramatic Bel-Air,was also shopped around to other streamers, including HBO and Netflix, before it was snagged by Peacock.
Will Smith confirmed the news on his YouTube channel.
The new series is based on Morgan Cooper’s fan-made trailer—which went viral thanks to Cooper’s suburb reimagining of the beloved comedy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bel-Air has been in the works since March of last year, when the film hit YouTube. It currently has more than 2 million views.
Cooper created and directed Bel-Air, reinterpreting the original NBC sitcom into a drama indicative of current events—and a new decade where Hollywood has a penchant for “giving everything a ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ backstory.” The result is a little less light comedy and a lot more intensity. But at its heart, there’s still the core of what made The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air so beloved and relevant: themes of love, family ties, and the journey of self-discovery.
The series will take the main story beats of the original show and expand them into a one hour story, giving fans a deeper and more complicated look at Will’s life. Cooper will co-write the script for Bel-Air, as well as direct. Chris Collins (The Man in the High Castle, The Wire) will act as showrunner and executive producer. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios will produce.
Bel-Air will air on Peacock. The series cast its lead, Will, at the end of August. Variety reports newcomer Jabari Banks has landed the role. The actor currently lives in West Philadelphia, just like Will. And Will Smith himself told Banks the news.
Originally published on August 11, 2020 and updated on September 8, 2020.