Will Smith to Develop The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Drama Reboot Born and Raised From Viral YouTube Trailer

Will Smith attends the premiere of Disney’s “Aladdin” on May 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. ; Bel-Air (2019) | Official Trailer (4K)
Will Smith attends the premiere of Disney’s “Aladdin” on May 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. ; Bel-Air (2019) | Official Trailer (4K)
Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images (Getty Images), Sun Squared Media/YouTube (Getty Images)

Remember that dramatic retelling of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that we all first noticed via social media? It went super viral—so viral, in fact, that Will Smith totally noticed it and gave his props to the filmmaker.


According to The Hollywood Reporter, Will Smith and the trailer’s filmmaker Morgan Cooper will be adapting the viral sensation into a whole dramatic reboot of the popular sitcom that ran from 1990-1996!

More scoop from THR:

Bel-Air is described as a dramatic take on the beloved ‘90s comedy that catapulted Smith to stardom over six seasons starring as the street-smart kid who moved from West Philly to the tony Los Angeles neighborhood. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the new Bel-Air 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. Cooper, a Fresh Prince superfan, created and directed the trailer that reimagined the series as if it were a drama. He will co-write the script, direct and be credited as a co-EP.

The caption of the 2019 trailer literally includes a manifesting hypothetical, “What would happen if Will Smith made The Fresh Prince today? Bel-Air, a story of a kid from Philly whose life got turned upside-down... in 2019.” What would happen, indeed? Well, it’s 2020 and anything could happen.

“The dramatic version of these ideas means that you can use existing storylines,” Smith remarked about the trailer starring Jerry Madison Jr. when it debuted. “But, it’s not going to seem like you’re redoing an episode because the storyline is going to be brand new from the dramatic perspective.”


Smith will serve as producer along with original series producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina. Creators Andy and Susan Borowitz will return as executive producers and Chris Collins (The Wire) will be the showrunner and executive producer and will co-write the script with Cooper. As for where this in-development project will land, THR’s sources say Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max are already involved in the bidding process. HBO Max already has the original episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, so grabbing this would make a complete package. But, this is business, so ultimately the best offer will win!

The concept trailer was very entertaining, though I’d be interested to see whether this would work in a long-form aspect. I’m open to seeing how they pull it off!


By the way, if you need a refresher on the creative trailer that started it all, check it out below:

Bel-Air official trailer / Sun Squared Media (YouTube)

Join the discussion! The Root is hosting its first-ever, virtual Root Institute, presented by Target, featuring several of the leading minds in our community talking about politics, culture, health, community building and social impact. Subscribe for updates today!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



Aunt Viv: “Will... Will...WILL! I’m talking to you! Pay attention to your aunt when she’s talking to you, boy!”

Will: “Look, I don’t know how you think you are, but you’re not...”

Aunt Viv: “Boy, don’t talk to me like that!”

Uncle Phil: “Will, you better show your Aunt Viv some respect!”

Will: “She’s not my aunt!!!”

Uncle Phil: “What’s gotten into you, have you lost your mind? She’s your aunt, dammit!”

Will: “No she’s not, Uncle Phil! Look at her...”

Bel-Air, Season 4 premier.