More than three decades after the pilot episode aired in 1990, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is getting a reboot with a brand-new cast.
Earlier this month Will Smith, executive producer of the revival, revealed the casting of Jabari Banks as the lead actor for Bel-Air, as the new show will be called.
The Hollywood star stunned the newcomer by revealing via a video call that he was to take on the role of Will, the role that made Will Smith (52) famous.
"It is an absolute pleasure to meet you, to be on with you, and from the deepest parts of my heart I want to say congratulations to you," he told Jabari (23). "You have the role of Will on Bel-Air."
"I'm ready, I'm so ready," replied the actor, who said his father had suggested he try out for the part after reading an article about it. "This is a dream come true."
Jabari said the show had a huge impact on his life, adding that he once got his friends to join him in dressing up as characters from the TV show while he was at high school.
The hit show, which ran for six seasons from 1990 to 1996, starred Will as a fictionalised version of himself.
The premise, as described in its famous opening theme song performed by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith), was that after getting in "one too many fights" in Philadelphia his mom sent him to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle in Bel-Air, Los Angeles.
Will’s working-class attitude was often at odds with those of his affluent relatives and hilarity ensued.
The reboot, which will appear on NBC streaming service Peacock in 2022, was inspired by a 2019 viral fan video by up-and-coming-director Morgan Cooper, who re-imagined the comedy as a modern-day drama.
Morgan was snapped up to work on the new project, produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Westbrook Studios and Universal Television.
Meet the reboot cast
Jabari Banks' part as Will is the newcomer’s first TV role. Jabari is a resident of west Philadelphia, which is where TV Will was famously born and raised, and graduated from the city's University of the Arts last year. He is also an accomplished singer-songwriter, rapper and basketball player.
Adrian Holmes takes on the role of family patriarch Philip Banks, who was originally played by the late James Avery.
Cassandra Freeman has been cast as Will's aunt, Vivian Banks. The role was played by Janet Hubert for the first three seasons then Daphne Maxwell Reid for the final three seasons of the original series.
Olly Sholotan revives the role of Will's cousin, Carlton. According to Olly's Instagram, he's also an accomplished musician. Alfonso Ribeiro played the original Carlton.
Coco Jones plays Will's snobby older cousin Hilary, a role first tilled by Karyn Parsons.
Akira Akbar plays Ashley Banks. Tatyana M Ali was in the original role of the NBC sitcom.
Jimmy Akingbola plays Geoffrey the butler. The role was first played by Joseph Marcell.
Simone Joy Jones plays Lisa, portrayed by Nia Long on the original show. According to Simone’s Instagram, she recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University.
Sources: deadline.com, hypebeast.com, insider.com, variety.com, ew.com