The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fans weren't expecting to get so emotional when the trailer dropped for the series' reunion, but when the late James Avery appeared on screen as Uncle Phil, they just couldn't help it. Tragically, Avery — who played the Banks family patriarch Philip Banks — died in 2013, but his memory will be prominent in the reunion. On Friday, Will Smith shared the first trailer for the official cast reunion, set to air on HBO Max three decades after the series first premiered. Fans got a sneak peek at the special event, seeing Janet Hubert — the original Aunt Viv before Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced her — surprise the rest of the cast.
Fans are fawning over both moments, but reactions to Smith's sweet comments about Avery are flooding social media. In the clip, he tells Tatyana Ali (Ashley), Karyn Parsons (Hilary), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), Reid (Aunt Viv), DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jazz) and Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) about the iconic, heart-wrenching scene in which Will realizes his father has left him once again. He finds himself in tears and is wrapped in the arms of his uncle (Avery).
"James Avery was this 6'4" Shakespearean beast and I wanted him to think I was good. I fall into his arms at the end of the scene, and he’s holding me," Smith says to his castmates. "The shot pans off and he whispers in my ear, 'Now that's acting.'" His fellow cast members are visibly emotional from memory — as are fans of the NBC sitcom after seeing the trailer. Continue reading to see some of the reactions to the sweet moment.
Oh man.. forget that Boring FRIENDS Reunion they paid millions for.... THIS is the one I can not WAIT to watch! Uncle Phil is gonna make me cry 😭😭 and they got Aunt Viv?!? Damn.... The Fresh Prince of Bel Air reunion is gonna be 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/B64cz0RXPf— Andy Signore (@andysignore) November 13, 2020
"Aww rest in peace Uncle Phil!!" one Instagram commenter wrote. "Ok ok this preview left me tears," another said. "I can’t wait."prevnext
Thee scene with Uncle Phil still gives me goosebumps 😭 https://t.co/yf73BzQNNh— ً (@illustjuan) November 13, 2020
"Man brought out Janet like it was a Jerry springer show...." one person joked, adding, "R.I.P Uncle Phil."prevnext
We miss uncle Phil 💔 pic.twitter.com/E4Xnti5cSb— Rawan albluwi (@drRawanJ) November 13, 2020
"Omgggg my Aunt Viv," someone else said. "RIP Uncle Phil, FORREALLLLLL! Can’t wait to wait!"prevnext
First things first! RIP Uncle Phil, he genuinely so much about what it means to be a good black man and he'll forever have a place in my heart.— Jacob is unemployed (@almost0jake) November 13, 2020
Finally getting the Fresh Prince reunion 🙌🏼
RIP Uncle Phil pic.twitter.com/sxsJ15MEId— Tony Clements (@TonyClementsTC) November 13, 2020
"My childhood!!!! Loved to see everyone back. God Bless Uncle Phil," someone else commented.prevnext
One day I’ll be able to remember what James Avery gave to us via Uncle Phil & not immediately cry my mascara off...but today ain’t that day. https://t.co/QHeUu4lfCG— ᴮᴱ𝖀nfriendly🔪𝕭lack🐈⬛𝕿hottie⁷ (@audiosexual) November 13, 2020
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion will air Thursday, Nov. 19 only on HBO Max.prev