This weekend, the long awaited Fresh Prince reboot, Bel-Air, arrives on your screens. The drama flips the script on the original sitcom version — this is a darker, more realistic take on the story of a kid who moves from the rough streets of west Philly to the manicured sidewalks of Bel-Air.
Newcomer Jabari Banks takes over the role that made Will Smith a household name, and he tells ABC Audio that this new version might ruffle the feathers of some fans, and that’s ok.
“We’re not taking away from the original,” he says. “I think we’re just expanding upon that. And so if people are interested in seeing that, it’s going to be super exciting watching.”
And for fans of the original, Banks promises, “There’s a lot of callbacks to the original. A lot of Easter eggs that are going to excite people.”
Jabari wasn’t even born when the original Fresh Prince aired, but he’s no a stranger to the show.
“My family had the six-season box set in our house, and that would just be on repeat all the time…And so it’s really raised me in a way,” notes Banks. “I dressed up as the Fresh Prince in high school for character day, and made all my friends dress up as the rest of the characters.”
Banks says Smith has become a mentor to him, warning the 23-year-old that he’ll face “a lot of ups and downs” in his career. but, “through it all, just stay grounded.”
Bel-Air will debut with three episodes streaming Sunday on Peacock, and on NBC after the Super Bowl. New episodes will stream weekly after that, and Banks says he’s thrilled: “It’s amazing and during Black History Month…[I’m] so grateful.”
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