Bel-Air has found its Will. Newcomer and West Philadelphia local Jabari Banks has been tapped to play the iconic role of Will, originated by Will Smith, in Bel-Air, Peacock’s drama reboot of Smith’s 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Smith surprised Banks with the news himself today. You can watch the video above.
The hourlong series, based on Morgan Cooper’s popular fan film that reenvisions the original series, hails from Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal Television. It received a two-season order in September 2020. T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson, whose credits include The Chi and The 100, serve as executive producers and co-showrunners. Morgan Cooper directs and serves as co-writer and executive producer.
Set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the 90’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.
The series also is executive produced by Will Smith, Terence Carter, James Lassiter, Miguel Melendez, Malcolm Spellman, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina and Andy & Susan Borowitz. Westbrook Studios, a division of Westbrook Inc., and Universal TV, which owns copyright to the original series, will serve as the studios.
Bel-Air is Banks’ first television role. A resident of West Philly, Banks graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2020. In addition to acting, Banks is an accomplished songwriter, singer, rapper, and basketball player. Banks is repped by Frontline Management and The Kohner Agency.