Fresh Prince of Bel Air is getting a dramatic reboot - everything we know so far

Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 4:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 4:50 pm
The new show will be a much darker drama than the 90s sitcom (Photo: IMDb)

A recent trend in television is rebooting old TV shows and giving them a more modern or edgy makeover - like Netflix’s approach to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which was a darker take on the 1996 sitcom, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

The latest show to be getting a gritty reboot is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which catapulted Will Smith to fame.

Why is Fresh Prince of Bel Air being rebooted?

In 2019, a short fan film called Bel-Air was written and directed by Morgan Cooper which acted as a trailer for a darker and grittier reimagining of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The trailer sees the character originally played by Smith getting involved in a fight during a game of basketball, and being caught with a gun by the police. His mother sends him to live with his uncle and aunt in Bel Air, Los Angeles, in hopes of giving Will a better shot at life.

The darker version of the sitcom looks to dive deeper into conflicts like class and race struggles, and how Will adapts to his new life. The four minute trailer was posted to YouTube on 10 March 2019, and went viral.

Will Smith himself released a video on 26 April 2019 on his YouTube channel titled How I Really Feel About That BEL-Air Trailer which saw the actor in an interview with Cooper, the director behind the reimagined trailer.

Smith heavily praised the trailer, calling it “an idea that is brilliant” and “The Fresh Prince for the next generation.”

The Hollywood Reporter states that the dramatic reboot of the show has “been in the works for more than a year after the four-minute clip went viral when it was posted in March 2019 and caught Smith’s attention.”

Who is involved in the reboot?

The show will be a co-production between Universal TV and Will Smith’s own company Westbrook Studios. Cooper will be a director, co-writer and co-EP on the series.

Chris Collins (The Wire, Crash, Sons of Anarchy) is set to act as showrunner, executive producer and is said to be co-writing the script, alongside Cooper.

Original series producers Smith, Quincy Jones and Benny Medina, as well as creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, are all reported to be returning as executive producers.

The reboot is currently being shopped around to different streaming services, with sources reportedly telling The Hollywood Reporter that Peacock, Netflix and HBO Max are among the services bidding on the series.

HBO Max is the current streaming home for the original sitcom.

What is Fresh Prince of Bel-Air about?

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was an American sitcom series which ran for six seasons, from 1990 to 1996.

The show starred Will Smith as a fictionalised version of himself, a teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle in their Bel Air mansion after getting into a fight in his hometown.

The show was a comedy that focused on how Will’s working class background clashed with the lifestyle of his upper class relatives.