It's Official: Lead Actor Cast in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Revival

Entertainment -
Jabari Banks is the Lead Actor in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Revival Remake
Will Smith's Fresh Prince legacy is a difficult task to live up to... | © Prince of Bel Air, Morgan Cooper

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a cult classic and a revival, or rather a re-visioning, has been long overdue. Now, Jabari Banks was cast in Will Smith's former role as the new contemporary Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Guys... this is a big moment for me. I grew up on the Fresh Prince. I adored the Fresh Prince. I wanted to be the Fresh Prince, and I am hardly alone in this: Most 20-35-something year old black males will tell you the same. Heck, Asian males, Caucasian males and women will tell you the same: Everybody wanted to be the Fresh Prince. The show transcended color as an all-black show – in the 90s! If you don't understand how huge that is, then you don't understand the racism of our times. Thus, this show getting a revival is both huge, scary, exciting and... daunting af.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Revival: What We Know

Who Is Fresh Prince Lead Actor Jabari Banks?

First things first: Like Will Smith did when he took over the lead, Jabari Banks does not have a single acting credit to his name. Also, just like Will, Jabari Banks is actually a West-Philadelphia native. Yup, born and raised. Is there such a thing as perfect casting? Looking at Jabari Banks, there just might be. Go rumble, young man. Greatness awaits. I'm rooting for you.

What Happened to the First Fresh-Prince Remake?

Some of you might remember that a couple of years ago, Morgan Cooper reimagined the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a contemporary drama. Many wanted to see his vision realized: A much darker, much grittier take on a kid from the hood coming to age in Bel-Air. I'm happy to tell you guys that Morgan Cooper will stay on board as a writer, director and co-executive producer. Love to see a young independent filmmaker be rewarded for his creativity and vision like that. I applaud you, studio-execs, I applaud you for that decision.

If you haven't seen Cooper's vision, here you go:

What Will the New Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Be Like?

Different and yet, the same. No, this will not be edgy. No, this will not be a dark drama – though this was what the original showrunners had planned. The show has since changed hands and will now be a "broad-skewing network-style" series. Whether that's good or bad news... I don't know. I don't mind them not forcing social justice issues or edginess, but I'd hate to see them skirt many of the racial issues that plague the US. The original Prince of Bel-Air did a fantastic job at staying light-hearted, but addressing issues of greater significance with the respect, tact and urgency they deserved. I'm not one that's into everything being dark and edgy – life has enough of that. Still, we don't need more basic network fluff. Let's hope this re-imagining follows in the original's footsteps and is the contemporary Fresh Prince of Bel-Air we deserve and not a politically correct mess of tryhard moments and wokeness (Coming 2 America, I'm looking at you as a bad example).

Here's what the showrunners had to say on this:

[The show will take place in modern-day America and] dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.

The show already landed a two-season deal and is executive-produced by the head writer of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier. Now, if you watched the latter (or didn't): That's a good thing. Falcon & Winter Soldier had a surprisingly good touch in dealing with issues of color – a delicate touch, far from heavy-handed or preachy. If writer Malcolm Spellman can work his magic here again, we might just have a great one on our hands.

If you want to read more on Entertainment and Pop-Culture, do be aware: EarlyGame is more than just gaming. We got you covered.