On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter learned of a developing reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, based on a fan-made YouTube video that went viral last year. The new series will be a dramatic re-imagining of the classic sitcom, inspired by a trailer made by Morgan Cooper last year. Now, Cooper's original video is back in the spotlight.
Cooper created a four-minute trailer for a dramatic adaptation of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air last year, titled simply: "BEL-AIR." It starred Jerry Madison as Will, with a decidedly different tone from the original. The YouTube description notes that it was a commentary on "Hollywood's current penchant for giving everything a 'dark' and 'gritty' backstory," although to many fans, the background to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air already matched this dramatic feel well. Cooper's short film made a big splash when it premiered last spring, and clearly the ripple effects reached all the way to the original creators.
Cooper will now serve as a co-executive producer, writer and director on the upcoming reboot. Will Smith himself is returning as an executive producer as well, along with original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz. Original producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina are returning, and Chris Collins will reportedly serve as showrunner, co-writing the script with Cooper.
The Fresh Prince reboot is in the early stages of development and is being shopped around to various streaming services. Right now, the top bidders are reportedly Netflix, HBO Max and NBC's Peacock. With no word as to when the series will get off the ground, fans will have to enjoy Cooper's original video for now.
"BEL-AIR" starred Jerry Madison as Will, Sherri Roulette-Mosley as Vy, Granvile O'Neal as Uncle Phil, Kira Ashby as Aunt Viv, Jenali Talib as Carlton, Rufus Burns as Jazz, Sada K. as Hilary, Khrystal Coppage as Ashley and Jada Paige as Lisa. The family's butler, Geoffrey, does not appear in the video, although there is a joke about his absence. So far, there has been no word either way on whether the original cast will take part in the show, or even whether or not Smith will be on camera in any capacity.
Cooper's video made it clear that the premise of Fresh Prince stood strong to this day, and had applications outside of the sitcom format. As early as April of 2019, Will smith called it a "brilliant idea" in one of his own YouTube videos, saying that it would serve "the next generation" well.