Will Smith announced the exciting news on his YouTube channel

By Robyn Merrett
September 08, 2020 07:10 PM
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Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
| Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

It's official: Bel-Air is coming to the small screen!

Peacock has ordered two seasons of the series adaptation of cinematographer Morgan Cooper's 2019 fan trailer titled Bel-Air — which is a dramatic reimagining of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Will Smith, who starred in the original '90s comedy, announced the news in a video posted to his YouTube channel.

In the footage, Smith called Cooper and Bel-Air's executive producer Chris Collins to deliver the big announcement.

"I've been in this business for 30 years and that does not happen," Smith said of the series order. "They ordered two full seasons of Bel-Air based on the quality of the pitch and the work that you guys have done."

Cooper's drama is set in modern day and highlights serious issues, such as police brutality, gang crime and wealth inequality. It also explores what it's like for a Black family to live in Bel-Air in today's social climate.

"There's so many layers to these characters," Cooper said. "We're really going to peel back the layers of these characters and explore this world in an unforgettable way. It's a show that's really going to surprise people in the best way possible."

Explaining where the idea to make the drama came from, Cooper shared: "I was driving on 71 in Kansas City and I was just thinking about the show."

"It's a show that we all grew up with, all '90s kids. It's a part of our life. I drove under this overpass and when I came out the entire world just hit me all at once," he continued. "The vision just became so clear, and I was like I have to make this."

"It's an idea that came straight from the heart. Two years later to be walking in this journey together with you [Will] and Chris is not only a dream come true, but it's something that I honestly feel was destined," Cooper added.

Peacock announced that Bel-Air is a "serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the '90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: Will's complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air."

"With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air 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," the press release states.

Cooper will direct, co-write and serve as co-executive producer alongside Collins, who in addition to executive-producing will also serve as showrunner. Collins previously worked on The Man in the High Castle and The Wire.

Smith's Westbrook Studios and Universal Television will serve as the studios on the project.

PEOPLE confirmed in August that Bel-Air was in the works from Smith's production company.

Smith, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, original creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, Miguel Melendez and Terence Carter will also serve as executive producers.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
| Credit: NBC via Getty Images

According to The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, the reboot has been in the works for over a year now. Deadline reported last month that Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon and Apple were interested in housing Bel-Air.

For the trailer, Cooper said he partnered with Sun Square Media. He also called on the help of a plethora of newcomers with Jerry Madison playing Will, Jelani Talib as Carlton Banks, and Granvile O’Neal as Uncle Phil. James Avery played Uncle Phil in the original series. He died in 2014 at age 68.

It is not immediately clear if the cast Cooper used in the trailer will be in the reboot.

Fresh Prince, which premiered in 1990, followed Smith's character Will after his mom sent him away from Philadelphia to live with his Uncle Phil in the wealthy neighborhood of Bel-Air in Los Angeles, California.

The series ran for six seasons before ending in 1996.