Who’s who in the reboot zoo: all about the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air revival

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The reboot of hit '90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is underway. The original cast featured (top from left) Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, (bottom from left) Tatyana M. Ali, James Avery and Will Smith. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)
The reboot of hit '90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is underway. The original cast featured (top from left) Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, (bottom from left) Tatyana M. Ali, James Avery and Will Smith. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

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 Banks and Olly Sholotan  were recently seen
Jabari Banks and Olly Sholotan were recently seen filming for the upcoming series on the beach in California. (TheImageDirect / Magazine Features)

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.

Newcomer Jabari Banks takes over the role made fam
Newcomer Jabari Banks takes over the role made famous by Will Smith (PHOTO: NBC Universal / IMDb.com / Jessica Osber)

Adrian Holmes takes on the role of family patriarch Philip Banks, who was originally played by the late James Avery. 

Will's uncle Phil, a role made famous by late acto
Will's uncle Phil, a role made famous by late actor James Avery, will be played by Adrian Holmes. (PHOTO: NBC Universal / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

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.

Will's aunt, Vivian Banks, has been played by Jane
Will's aunt, Vivian Banks, has been played by Janet Hubert and Daphne Maxwell Reid and will now be brought to life by Cassandra Freeman. (PHOTO: NBC Universal / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

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.

Nigerian-American actor Olly Sholotan takes over t
Nigerian-American actor Olly Sholotan takes over the role of Will's cousin Carlton from Alfonso Ribiero. (PHOTO: NBC Universal / Getty Images / Gallo Images)

Coco Jones plays Will's snobby older cousin Hilary, a role first tilled by Karyn Parsons.

Hilary Banks, previously played by Karen Parsons,
Hilary Banks, previously played by Karen Parsons, will be played by Coco Jones. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Akira Akbar plays Ashley Banks. Tatyana M Ali was in the original role of the NBC sitcom.

The role of Ashley Banks, previously played by Tat
The role of Ashley Banks, previously played by Tatyana M. Ali, will be taken on by Akira Akbar. (PHOTO: NBC Universal / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Jimmy Akingbola plays Geoffrey the butler. The role was first played by Joseph Marcell.

British actor Jimmy Akingbola will play Geoffrey t
British actor Jimmy Akingbola will play Geoffrey the butler, originally played by Joseph Marcell. (PHOTO: NBC Universal / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

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.

Simone Joy Jones will play Will's love interesst L
Simone Joy Jones will play Will's love interesst Lisa, portrayed by Nia Long on the original. (PHOTO: NBC Universal / Instagram / @simonejoyjones)

Sources: deadline.com, hypebeast.com, insider.com, variety.com, ew.com

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