Of all the properties to jump on the ‘gritty reboot’ bandwagon, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air hardly stood out as a potential candidate. The beloved sitcom ran for 148 episodes between 1990 and 1996, launching Will Smith’s acting career in the process, and it still endures as a fan favorite a quarter of a century later.
Morgan Cooper wrote and directed trailer Bel-Air, which re-imagined the premise as the basis for a hard-hitting family drama, and it went on to become an online sensation. So much so that it caught the eye of Smith himself, who signed on to produce the rebooted series with Cooper last summer, and it scored a two-season order right out of the gate on Peacock that would reinvent the comedy as a serious exploration of modern day social and political themes.
The Fresh Prince was back in the headlines late last year when the reunion special aired on HBO Max, increasing hype and anticipation for the in-development Bel-Air. The show was expected to premiere before the end of 2021, but a new report offers that not only has it been pushed back to 2022, but showrunner Chris Collins has also exited the project to be replaced by The 100 duo T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson.
Cooper remains on board as writer, director and executive producer of Bel-Air, and the concept remains the same, but fans will need to hold tight to a little longer, especially when the report also notes that the casting process hasn’t yet gotten underway. There was a lot of internet support behind Will Smith returning to play Uncle Phil, but that feels more like wishful thinking than anything with any weight or merit to it.