I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you how Will Smith is bringing back The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Seriously, you guys.
Rumor has it Smith is in the early stages of producing a modern-day reboot of the show that made him a household name. According to multiples sources close to the star, Smith’s production company is finalizing the concept now and will soon start shopping the show to various networks.
Naturally, we’re pretty pumped. We were big fans of the six-season series back in the day (who wasn’t?). Plus, we’re unabashedly into the whole ’90s TV revival going on right now. More Full House, Coach, Boy Meets World, The X-Files and Twin Peaks? Yes, please!
Still, even though we caught every episode of the OG version until it ended in 1996, we couldn’t quite remember where we left Will and the rest of the Banks fam. So we did the only logical thing — we watched the entire series finale.
And you know what we discovered? Not only could a Fresh Prince reboot work, but it’s almost as if the series was set up for a spinoff. Here’s why.
Philip and Vivian Banks
In the finale, Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv sell the family estate with the intention of moving back east. In full disclosure, watching Uncle Phil tell Will, “You’re my son, end of story,” is kind of a tearjerker — especially in light of the fact that James Avery, the actor who unforgettably played Uncle Phil, passed away in 2013. Since no one could possibly fill Avery’s shoes as Uncle Phil, a revival would be a bit of an homage to the late entertainer.
In the finale, Will struggles with the feeling he didn’t accomplish enough during his time in Bel-Air with the Banks family. Uncle Phil sweetly assures Will of his potential and Will vows to stay in California and finish out his college degree.
In Smith’s last scene of the series, he says goodbye to Uncle Phil — promising they’ll talk every Sunday — then he simply turns out the light on the family home (soon to be inhabited by George and Weezie of The Jeffersons) and walks out. We imagine the revival could follow real-life Will Smith’s career closely, as his FP character would have devoted himself to realizing the potential Uncle Phil saw in him.
The Banks’ oldest daughter, Hilary, walked away from Bel-Air for the last time headed for a new life in New York City. The sometimes-vapid-but-somehow-endearingly-so sibling is making the cross-country move for her nationally televised, eponymous daytime talk show. Karyn Parsons, the actress behind Hilary, stepped away from the spotlight sometime in the early 2000s in order to focus on philanthropy, but perhaps sentimentality could entice her back. We’d love to see Hilary as a working mom.
Oh, Carlton. Will’s preppy cousin left Bel-Air for the east coast in the finale — he transferred from UCLA to Uncle Phil’s alma mater, Princeton. Will and Carlton share several touching scenes in the finale, reminiscing on their journey from childhood to manhood together. Since Carlton IRL, Alfonso Ribeiro, is still close to Will IRL, we can’t imagine him ever saying no to a spinoff. Perhaps the conservative Republican Carlton got into politics? The premise is rife with possibilities.
The youngest Banks daughter, Ashley, always looked up to Will and, as such, tended to find trouble. In the finale, Ashley decided to attend a performing arts school in New York City. Since Hilary is relocating there, too, the sisters get an apartment together. Because Philip was strict with Ashley and she had a penchant for rebellion back in the day, we predict she sowed some wild oats in the Big Apple.
Nicholas Andrew Michael Shawn Nathan Wanya Banks
Nicholas (that mouthful of middle names was a tribute to the Boyz II Men members, who played at his christening) was best known on the series as “Nicky.” He was Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv’s youngest child and Will’s little cousin. Still just a small boy during the finale, Nicky promises to remember Will’s advice to “never give Dad any bad news when he’s hungry.” Well, that and “always be good to your mom and dad.”
Ross Bagley, who played Nicky, also starred as Buckwheat in Little Rascals and — fun fact! — as Will Smith’s stepson in 1996’s Independence Day. He appears to have two movies in post-production, which means he’s a working actor and potentially available to reprise his role as Nicky. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll now be the troubled youth to Will’s successful and wealthy “Uncle Will.”
The Banks’ cynical but loving butler was all smiles in the finale as he announced he was headed back to London to be closer to his son. Uncle Phil hooked him up with a first-class ticket upgrade and a spring bonus, so Geoffrey left with nothing but love for the family he’d grown so fond of over the years. Joseph Marcell, who played “G,” has enjoyed steady acting jobs since the finale. We smell his next role.
Although his roles have been few and far between since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air went off the air, Jeffrey A. Townes — aka DJ Jazzy Jeff — has enjoyed a few acting credits over the years and has been featured on a slew of soundtracks. We’re not sure they could pull off a Fresh Prince reboot without Will’s spacey BFF, so we’re going to call it: He’s in. (We hope. How hilarious if he ends up with Hilary?!)