The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air family is back together again! Friday, Will Smith shared the first trailer for the official cast reunion, airing on HBO Max 30 years after the series first premiered, and even the original Aunt Viv is making an appearance! Janet Hubert, who played Vivian Banks originally before being replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid for the final three seasons, can be seen in the trailer for the unscripted special, premiering Thursday, Nov. 19.
Gasps can be heard from her fellow castmates as Hubert makes her surprise appearance after problems working with Smith on set reportedly led to her departure. Also joining the reunion are Smith and the rest of the main cast — Tatyana Ali (Ashley), Karyn Parsons (Hilary), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Viv), DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jazz) and Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton). The stars will come back together on the set of the L.A. mansion where they filmed the iconic sitcom and share memories from six seasons of filming.
Tragically, James Avery, who played Banks family patriarch Philip Banks, died in 2013, but his memory will be prominent in the reunion. Smith remembers in the trailer filming with Avery the heart-wrenching scene in which Will realizes his father has left him once again, being wrapped in the arms of his uncle in tears. "I just wanted him to think I was good," Smith says. "I fall into his arms at the end of the scene, and he’s holding me… The shot pans off and he whispers in my ear, ‘Now that’s acting.'"
Smith had teased the gang was getting back together on social media, posting a photo with everyone back on set on Sept. 10. "Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted! So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax! RIP James," he wrote at the time, hashtagging "#FreshPrince30th."
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The reunion comes as the sitcom prepares for a Bel-Air reboot, which received an immediate two-season order on Peacock. The series, adapted by Smith from a trailer made by director Morgan Cooper that went viral in 2019, will follow a modern imagining of a West Philadelphia teen who moves out to Bel-Air to stay with rich family members after getting in trouble at home.
"The Carlton character, a Black young Republican, modern day? The heat that will be stirred up between these characters," Smith said of the new take on the story that skyrocketed him to fame on his YouTube channel. "It's like, what's the Hilary character in a world of Instagram and social media?... Uncle Phil, a Black lawyer turned judge today with young Black kids coming before him."