The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is set to once again make the television landscape into its kingdom. However, it will do so in a tonally-divergent fashion from the classic 1990-1996 sitcom.
The reboot will be based on the 2019 viral short, Bel-Air (which you can view below), by Morgan Cooper. Said short was a parody trailer that put a contemporary dramatic twist on the intended comedic premise of the original sitcom, and famously gained the attention of star Will Smith, who referred to it as “an idea that’s brilliant.” Now, said idea will yield the patronage of megastar Smith, whose shingle with wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, Westbrook Studios, is teaming with Universal Television to bring Bel-Air to life and pitch the project to several outlets and streamers, some of which, according to THR, include Peacock (streamer of the original show’s NBC home), Netflix and HBO Max.
Cooper, the concept-conceiving clip’s conjuror, is attached to the would-be Bel-Air series to co-write, direct and serve as executive producer. Additionally, this proverbial ship will be steered by an appointed showrunner in Chris Collins, who is co-writing the script with Cooper. Moreover, the creative bullpen will have key personnel from the original series, with original star Will Smith serving as executive producer via Westbrook Studios, joined in that capacity by Quincy Jones, Benny Medina and original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz.
The darker dramatic tone for the Bel-Air project is certainly solidified by the presence of showrunner Chris Collins, who brings genre-pertinent experience as an executive producer for peak television shows such as Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and FX’s Sons of Anarchy, along with a writing stint on HBO’s The Wire; a CV also boosted by his big-screen work—alongside Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten and Mark Abrams—on the script for 2019 franchise actioner sequel John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. He was also the appointed showrunner of Starz’s developing John Wick spinoff series, The Continental, although it’s been some time since there was an update on that project.