It has now been a few years since a fan video reimagining The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a drama rather than the sitcom we known and loved it for being, arrived online and somehow led to a bidding war between networks and streamers to actually make the series a reality. Will Smith was attached to the reboot project and it ended up with NBC's Peacock nabbing themselves the property with a two season order without even bothering with a pilot. But it looks like the expected premiere of the series this year has now been pushed back to a 2022 air date.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news along with some other information about the reboot, including the big development that showrunner Chris Collins is no longer attached to the series, despite developing the idea over the last two year. He will be replaced by TJ Brady and Rasheed Newson who will act as co-showrunners on the show, while Morgan Cooper, the creator of the original video, is still on board as writer, director and co-executive producer. There has been no casting news as of yet, which probably gives a good indicator as to why the series will not be premiering this year.
Last year, Smith said of the deal, "We have just officially closed the deal with Peacock with an unprecedented two-season-order from a pitch. I've been in this business for thirty years and that does not happen. They ordered two full seasons of Bel-Air based on the quality of the pitch and the work that you guys have done. So I want to say congratulations. I am hyped."
The series will be produced by Smith's own Westbrook Studios and Universal Television, and will completely turn around the original comedy dynamic of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The lead character will still have a whole lot of swagger about him and the story will still see his journey to live with family in Bel-Air, but although it will reference the original show and will have some humor, it will deal primarily with a more dramatic and serious tone.
"That's what I'm most excited about and what really clicked in my mind when I saw the trailer that Morgan did," Smith added. "The concepts in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reimagined as a drama, like a real kid from West Philadelphia, modern day, a black family in Bel-Air, the Carlton character, a black, young Republican, modern day. The heat that would be stirred up between these characters it's like, What's the Hilary character in a world of Instagram and social media? What does that become? Uncle Phil a black lawyer turned judge, today with young black kids coming before him? Aunt Viv, a professional woman that decided to raise her family and now that her kids are older, making her way back into the world of what is her life going to be as her kids have grown up. That stuff is so rich dude."
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is only one of many properties that have been given the reversal treatment on YouTube, where fans reimagine their favorite films as a different genre. This has including Predator as a sitcom and The Mask as a horror. The main difference is that Morgan Cooper's take on The Fresh Prince is the only one that has led to an actual show being made based on the principle. Depending how it is received, it may well not be the last.