Just like Bel-Air (coming in 2022) has dramatized the ’90s sitcom starring Will Smith, the teaser has done the same to the opening. “This is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down. I looked at my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne,” Smith narrates, a dramatic reading of the original series’ theme song, as we see the new Will, played by Jabari Banks, fall back into water.
In the video, Will is wearing Jordan sneakers as an homage to Smith’s footwear in the original series. As he sinks into the water, things from his old life in Philly — basketballs, a trophy, ATVs — float around him, and then he swims after a crown (his new life). Also seen are dice, the first items from his life in Bel-Air. (In the original series, there were dice in the cab’s mirror.) The teaser ends with Will sitting on a throne and the crown settling on his head. Watch it below.
Bel-Air is based on Morgan Cooper’s viral fan film in 2019. Peacock gave it a two-season order. It tells the story of Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. Now, in this reimagining, it “will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.”
It also stars Adrian Holmes as Phillip Banks, Cassandra Freeman as Vivian Banks, Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks, Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks, Jimmy Akingbola as Geoffrey, Jordan L. Jones as Jazz, and Simone Joy Jones as Lisa.
“At its heart, Bel-Air is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength and love of the Black family. We have stayed true to the original premise of the legacy series — Will’s life is turned upside down after he is forced to leave West Philly and lands in Bel-Air with its gated mansions and wealth, however, our new series brings Will and the Banks family into the world as we know it now. It’s been incredible to bring these iconic characters to life when you tap them into the cultural pulse of our time. The series was the fabric of so many of our upbringings, tied to memories and the joy of seeing ourselves represented on TV so it is important to us to pay respect to its legacy,” executive producers and co-showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson said in a statement.
“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,” they added. “His name is Jabari Banks and he won our hearts in the same way he won this role. Our creative team, including Will Smith, recognized that Jabari embodied the talent, charisma, and sheer swagger necessary to make this iconic role his own.”
“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, who serves as director, co-writer, and executive producer, said.
Smith, Terence Carter, James Lassiter, Miguel Melendez, Malcolm Spellman, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and Andy and Susan Borowitz also executive produce. The series is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Westbrook Studios, a division of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s media company Westbrook Inc.
Bel-Air, 2022, Peacock