'Bel-Air': Jabari Banks on Solidifying Dramatized Version Into Culture and What to Expect in Season 2 (Exclusive)

The highly anticipated Season 2 of Peacock's Bel-Air is back. Fans of the original sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were initially hesitant when a dramatized and more modern revitalization of the 90s classic was announced, but viewers were left pleasantly surprised by how the team managed to keep some elements of the original while giving a fresh, compelling, and relatable take. Season 1 ended with Will Smith – played by newcomer Jabari Banks – at a crossroads between the world he grew to love in the gated community of Bel-Air at odds with everything from his past in the streets of West Philly. In Season 2, viewers will see him venture out into the more urban areas of South L.A. as he discovers which world is more important, and which version of himself he prefers to be…if any.

Ahead of the Feb. 23 premiere on the streaming platform, PopCulture.com spoke with Banks, a Philly native, about the impact of both shows. He also discussed what to expect in Season 2 and what viewers will be the most surprised by. Watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel.

PC: So Season 1 ended with Will having an identity crisis of sorts. How do we see him navigate being caught between the worlds of Philly and Bel-Air and season two?

JB: Oh, he's escaping Bel-Air. He's outside the gates of Bel-Air, and he's going back – he's going to South L.A. and resorting back to his Philly ways a little bit. He's playing streetball and betting on games, and South L.A. definitely reminds him of home. And so he's spending time there with Jazz, and he gets into a little bit of trouble out there.

Now viewers love the dramatic take on Will's relationship with Carlton this time around. Now at the end of season one, we started to see a little bit of hope in their relationship. Does that continue in Season 2, or does it remain sort of a rollercoaster?

Oh no. Yeah, that definitely continues in Season 2. It's so fun to play that camaraderie between Will and Carlton. That's something from the original that I really enjoyed. And so I think fans are going to be super excited to see that. This season Will is Carlton's wingman this season, so we'll see how that plays out.

Now as a Philly native, like myself, how impactful do you feel this version of the series has been, in addition to the legacy of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and to see a local playing in this iconic role?

Yeah. I mean, I wish I was alive when the original came out because I-

Not you wish you were alive…

JB: No, for real. Because I heard – people used to tune in every Sunday after football or whatever, you know what I mean? It was really an event. But when I go back to Philly, it's mad love, it's mad love. And so I'm glad that I could do it for the community. I went back to West Philly maybe, I think it was like two, three months ago now. Because I was helping out with voter registration and just being in that community, and seeing the love that they gave me was just amazing. You know what I mean? I feel like a hero. I really had a bill where I used to live in South Philly, I really had a billboard right where I used to live, which was insane. It was crazy. Everybody was taking pictures as well.

Now who or what do you think will be the most surprising this season versus the last season? Which character development are you the most excited for viewers to see this time around?

Geoffrey. Geoffrey, I'm excited for them to explore Geoffrey's character, it's going to be crazy. It's going to be insane, yeah.