Will Smith celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's debut on NBC in 1990 by sharing a photo from the cast reunion being filmed for HBO Max. The post included a surprise for the show's longtime fans, as Smith included a photo with Janet Hubert, the first actress to play Aunt Vivian. Smith also included a shout-out to James Avery, who played Uncle Phil and died in 2013.
"Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The [Fresh Prince] of Bel-Air debuted," Smith wrote on Instagram. "So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to [HBO Max]." Smith added "RIP James" as a tribute to Avery, as well as the hashtag "Fresh Prince 30th." His first photo included all the former co-stars who were previously announced as participants for the reunion: Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
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The second photo Smith included was a picture of himself chatting with Hubert, who played Aunt Vivian for the show's first three seasons before she was replaced by Reid. The picture of the two actors came as a shock to fans since Hubert and Smith have not been on the best terms in the past. In 2011, she said there would "never be a reunion," reports Entertainment Weekly. She also criticized Smith as an "egomaniac" and the person behind her firing. Smith said Hubert wanted the show to center around her character.
The two seem to be on better terms now though. According to HBO Max, their segment together will be an "emotional reunion and a candid conversation." The TimeWarner streaming platform described the special as "a funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and special surprise guests, in honor of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes." It was produced by Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrooke Media company with executive producers Rikki Hughes, Miguel Melendez, Lukas Kaiser, and Brad Haugen. Marcus Raboy is directing.
Although the reunion special will only be available on HBO Max in November, NBCUniversal is planning a "gritty" reboot of the sitcom with Smith as executive producer and The Wire's Chris Collins serving as showrunner. The show has already earned a two-season order and will be available to stream on Peacock. All six seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are available to stream on HBO Max.