HBO Max To Air Unscripted 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Reunion Special

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran from 1990 to 1996, is well-remembered by fans of the show and has its place in the pantheon of classic sitcoms. Currently, the complete series is streaming on HBO Max. Fans who want to see some of these actors together again will be pleased to know that cast members will be together again for an unscripted reunion special, which will be available on HBO Max.

The special will be filmed on September 10, the 30th anniversary of the series premiere. Obviously, this is no coincidence. However, the special will not be available until around Thanksgiving. With the series being a family show, it makes sense that it would be released specifically for a time that is generally considered a time to spend with family. Some would surely want to view the special sooner rather than later, but the couple of months are sure to pass by quickly.

Will Smith will be returning, of course. Other cast members who have been confirmed are Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, all of whom portrayed Ashley Banks, Hilary Banks, Geoffrey Butler, Vivian Banks, Carlton Banks, and Jazz, respectively.

Noticeably, Janet Hubert-Whitten is absent from this list of names. She portrayed Will’s aunt, Vivian Banks, in the first three seasons of the series before being replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. It probably comes as no surprise to fans of the show that she would be absent. As of the writing of this article, it is unknown whether or not she has been asked to return. If she does end up returning, then that would certainly be a surprise.

Also absent from the names is Ross Bagley, who played Nicky Banks in seasons 5 and 6 after the character, as an infant, was portrayed by multiple individuals. Perhaps Bagley could make a surprise appearance, but again, we do not know for sure.

And of course, James Avery, who portrayed Will’s uncle and father figure Philip Banks, passed away on December 31, 2013. What I believe we can expect is that some nice words will be said by the cast, as a way of honoring his stellar performance. He was such a prominent presence on that show, and it is impossible to talk about The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air without thinking about James Avery’s portrayal of Philip Banks.

The special will be directed by film and music video director Marcus Roboy. Rikki Hughes will be both showrunner and executive producer. Additional executive producers include Miguel Melendez, Lukas Kaiser, and Brad Haugen. Will Smith’s Westbrook Media will be producing the special.

This news comes not too long after the news of the development of a drama reboot series titled Bel-Air, based on Morgan Cooper’s viral “trailer.” People have had mixed reactions to the news, even after hearing that Will Smith and series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz will be returning as executive producers. It will be interesting to see whether the reboot gets a mention on the reunion special. We know that Will Smith is interested, but it would also be interesting to hear the thoughts of the other actors. Then again, I could also see the special keeping the focus on the original series.

In any case, it should be nice to see all of these actors together again. It is great that we are getting this special commemorating the beloved series. Lots of TV viewers grew up on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, either as it was running or via reruns, and it has stood the test of time.

Source(s): Entertainment Weekly