Will Smith reveals newcomer Jabari Banks cast as Will in Fresh Prince reboot


Will Smith has recast his star-making role in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for his upcoming Peacock reboot of the iconic sitcom.

Newcomer Jabari Banks who, like the 52-year-old star hails from West Philadelphia, will star in the upcoming highly anticipated series as Will, Smith revealed in a YouTube video on Tuesday. 

The coveted role will be Banks’ first television role, according to Deadline

So fresh: Will Smith has recast his star-making role of Will in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with unknown actor Jabari Banks, for his upcoming dramatic reboot of the sitcom for Peacock

Jabari learned he’d been cast in the role via a video chat with Will Smith himself, which Peacock then shared online. 

Banks had no idea that Will would be joining him in the video and looked absolutely stunned when the A-list actor appeared on screen shouting ‘Yo!’

‘From the deepest parts of my heart, I wanna say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on Bel-Air,’ Smith said.

After the shock wore off, Banks said he was ‘so ready’ to take on the role, which – rather than comedic will be dramatic in the reboot.

What an honor: Newcomer Jabari Banks who, like the 52-year-old star hails from West Philadelphia, will star in the upcoming highly anticipated series as Will, Smith revealed in a YouTube video on Tuesday

What an honor: Newcomer Jabari Banks who, like the 52-year-old star hails from West Philadelphia, will star in the upcoming highly anticipated series as Will, Smith revealed in a YouTube video on Tuesday

Shock! Banks had no idea that Will would be joining him in the video and looked absolutely stunned when the A-list actor appeared on screen shouting 'Yo!'

Shock! Banks had no idea that Will would be joining him in the video and looked absolutely stunned when the A-list actor appeared on screen shouting ‘Yo!’

'From the deepest parts of my heart, I wanna say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on Bel-Air,' Smith said.

‘From the deepest parts of my heart, I wanna say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on Bel-Air,’ Smith said.

During the meeting of the ‘Wills’, Jabari shared with Smith that when he was in high school he and his friends dressed up as the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

‘You’ve got a fantastic road ahead of you,’ the I Am Legend star said. ‘I’m looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life and build out your career.’

Smith, who was an unknown at the time he was cast in the sitcom, likely saw a glimpse into his past during the call.

The Hollywood actor was seated inside his palatial Southern California home during the video while Banks was smooshed inside his small closet, flanked by clothes and hangers. 

Star makin moment: After the shock wore off, Banks said he was 'so ready' to take on the role, which - rather than comedic will be dramatic in the reboot

Star makin moment: After the shock wore off, Banks said he was ‘so ready’ to take on the role, which – rather than comedic will be dramatic in the reboot

Wow! The coveted role will be Banks' first television role, according to Deadline

Wow! The coveted role will be Banks’ first television role, according to Deadline 

'You've got a fantastic road ahead of you,' the I Am Legend star said. 'I'm looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life and build out your career.'

‘You’ve got a fantastic road ahead of you,’ the I Am Legend star said. ‘I’m looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life and build out your career.’

The West Philly native is a graduate of the city’s University of the Arts in Philadelphia, class of 2020 and this will mark his first big acting role. 

The origin story for the forthcoming Peacock drama is one of the more unique in the industry. 

It all started with a moody, exceptionally well-done fan trailer made by Morgan Cooper that went viral. 

Morgan’s viral video, uploaded in March of 2019, featured actor Jerry Madison in Smith’s role as a transplanted youth from Philadelphia dealing with a new set of circumstances in Bel-Air, California. 

Bigtime! The West Philly native is a graduate of the city's University of the Arts in Philadelphia, class of 2020 and this will mark his first big acting role

Bigtime! The West Philly native is a graduate of the city’s University of the Arts in Philadelphia, class of 2020 and this will mark his first big acting role

Wow! The origin story for the forthcoming Peacock drama is one of the more unique in the industry as it all started with a moody, exceptionally well-done fan trailer made by Morgan Cooper that went viral

Wow! The origin story for the forthcoming Peacock drama is one of the more unique in the industry as it all started with a moody, exceptionally well-done fan trailer made by Morgan Cooper that went viral

The minor police kerfuffle Will experiences in the opening credits of the lighthearted Nineties sitcom is re-approached in the new clip, giving it new weight and meaning in light of more current accounts of repeated police brutality and violence against Black Americans.  

‘Everybody sent it to me,’ Will Smith said when announcing Bel-Air’s series order. ‘It was outstanding. I had NEVER envisioned revisiting the Banks family in this way. 

‘We knew this was special, so we called @ryokanproductions and asked him to lead the team (he wrote on The Wire) and he said YES! Months of writing, developing and pitching… and now it’s happening.

'Everybody sent it to me,' Will Smith said when announcing Bel-Air's series order. 'It was outstanding. I had NEVER envisioned revisiting the Banks family in this way.

'Everybody sent it to me,' Will Smith said when announcing Bel-Air's series order. 'It was outstanding. I had NEVER envisioned revisiting the Banks family in this way.

‘Everybody sent it to me,’ Will Smith said when announcing Bel-Air’s series order. ‘It was outstanding. I had NEVER envisioned revisiting the Banks family in this way.

‘Bel-Air got a TWO SEASON order, debuting in 2021 on @nbc’s streaming service @peacocktv. Morgan Cooper and Chris Collins, you are THE TRUTH!!’ he concluded.

Smith also shared his excitement in the video call, remarking that the two season order based off of a pitch (as opposed to a filmed pilot) is ‘unprecedented’. 

The original Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air ran from 1990 to 1996 and co-starred James Avery, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro and DJ Jazzy Jeff. 

Iconic: The original Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air ran from 1990 to 1996 and co-starred James Avery, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro and DJ Jazzy Jeff

Iconic: The original Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air ran from 1990 to 1996 and co-starred James Avery, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro and DJ Jazzy Jeff



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