A reboot and dramatization of the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bel-Air follows Will’s (Jabari Banks) complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will is sent to move in with his wealthy uncle and aunt in their Bel-Air mansion after getting bullied at the local playground in his West Philly neighborhood. But in Bel-Air, the reason for Will’s relocation to the glitzy Los Angeles district is much more serious.
As revealed in the three-minute Bel-Air trailer, Will is involved in a fight that takes place during a basketball match in West Philly. Will finds a gun from a bag, and in an attempt to stop the scuffle, he shoots it in the air as the police arrives on the scene. Will is arrested by the police, and even though he eventually gets out, “some bad man from Philly wanted to deal” with him.
This incident brings Will to the Bel-Air mansion of his Aunt Viv (Cassandra Freeman) and Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes), who creates a completely different story to ensure Will’s safety. “Why move mountains to get it here? So here’s the story: You came to Bel-Air for a better education. Simple. Be patient. Give this a real chance,” Phil tells Will in the trailer.
Adjusting to his new life won’t be easy for Will. At one point in the trailer, Will is seen seemingly fleeing his aunt and uncle’s Bel-Air mansion. While it remains to be seen whether he actually makes his way out of the gated property, his Aunt Viv actually advises him to simply be himself: “Be the Will that charmed West Philly with his talent and swag.”
“At its heart, Bel-Air is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength and love of the Black family,” T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson, series executive producers and co-showrunners, said in a joint statement. “We have stayed true to the original premise of the legacy series – Will’s life is turned upside down after he is forced to leave West Philly and lands in Bel-Air with its gated mansions and wealth, however, our new series brings Will and the Banks family into the world as we know it now. It’s been incredible to bring these iconic characters to life when you tap them into the cultural pulse of our time. The series was the fabric of so many of our upbringings, tied to memories and the joy of seeing ourselves represented on TV so it is important to us to pay respect to its legacy.”
Morgan Cooper, who serves as director, co-writer, and executive producer on the series, added: “Because Bel-Air is a drama, we’re able to really peel back the layers of these characters and themes in a way that you simply couldn’t do 30 years ago in the half-hour sitcom format. We’re able to go have tough conversations that challenge perspectives. At its core, Bel-Air is a celebration of the black experience through the perspective of a family.”
Bel-Air will premiere on Super Bowl Sunday, February 13th, on Peacock with three episodes at launch and new episodes streaming weekly. The series, which hails from Westbrook Studios (a division of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc.) and Universal Television (owner of the copyright to the sitcom), has already been renewed for a second season.