Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Spin-Off

Over three years ago, rumors were swirling about Will Smith‘s production company developing a possible The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot that would have put “a new spin on the fish-out-of-water tale while maintaining the spirit of the original series.” However, once Smith finally got asked about the project, he said a reboot of the NBC sitcom that he led back in the 1990s would probably happen “when hell freezes over.” Well, the devil might want start shopping for a winter coat.

In a recent profile on Will Smith’s overall success in show business, a little detail is buried that mentions the actor’s new Westbrook production banner is working on a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air spin-off series.

The Hollywood Reporter mentioned the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air spin-off as one of the TV projects Smith has in the works, adding that the actor still receives a decent chunk of royalty money from the original 1990s series that ran on NBC. Nothing else is mentioned beyond the mere existence of the series.

If I were a betting man, I’d say this is something that’s being cooked up for the NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock, or maybe more likely, the WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max, since it was Warner Bros. Television who distributed the original series. But this project may only be in the nascent stages of development, and it’s possible that it lays dormant for awhile. But what would a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air spin-off series even be about?

At the end of the original series, the Banks family, which consisted of Will Smith’s character’s Uncle Phil (James Avery), Aunt Vivian (Daphne Maxwell Reid), and their youngest son Nicky (Ross Bagley) are selling their Bel-Air mansion in order to move closer to New York. That’s because their daughter Hilary (Karyn Parsons) has a talk show that is moving production to New York City, and their middle daughter Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali) is going with her to attend a performing arts school, while Carlton (Alfonso Ribiero) is going to attend Princeton.

Meanwhile, Will has felt a surge of ambition after realizing that he has no plans for the future. He reflects on his lack of accomplishments since moving in with his aunt and uncle, so Uncle Phil helps him get an apartment so he can hang back in California and get his college degree.

So where could a spin-off take us? Well, it depends on if this is a spin-off that acts as more of a reboot, or if it continues the legacy of Will Smith’s character. Maybe Will is older now and has a son of his own who needs a change in environment to learn some valuable life lessons.

One other possibility would be putting a dramatic spin on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, like this viral video proposed:

Will Smith himself even recently addressed his fascination with the dramatic side of the series that they couldn’t always really address on the show because it was more of a comedy than a drama (though they did achieve some moments that pulled at your heartstrings from time to time).

What could also really be interesting (albeit simple) is if the series took a cue from Will Smith’s own superstar life. Maybe the fictional Will from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air grew up to be a successful rapper/actor, and his kids are a little out of touch with the real world, so he sends them to live with some relatives back in Philadelphia. Their upper class lifestyle would not mesh well with inner-city Philly and hilarity and coming-of-age ensues.

Even though THR says it’s a spin-off is in the works, there’s so little information about it that we’re not even sure if this is still an active priority or if it’s just a leftover project from those previous rumors. With all the TV show revivals coming forth in order to populate new streaming services, we wouldn’t be surprised.

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