Cast reunions are big business and with HBO Max as the home for the complete series of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it was only a matter of time before they got that cast back together for a reunion. Now we’ve got the first photo of the cast reunited. Will Smith joined Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and Alfonso Ribeiro as well as recurring co-star DJ Jazzy Jeff for a family reunion on set in the Banks’ home for the show’s 30th anniversary. Even more surprising was a sit-down with the original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert, for the first time in 27 years for what promises to be “an emotional reunion and a candid conversation.” Hubert and Smith reportedly did not get along, which led to her being recast with Reid in Season 4. Of course, the big absence here is the dearly departed James Avery, who played Uncle Phil and passed away in 2013.
I’m excited to see a reunion for this show, which served as a launchpad for Smith’s career and still holds up as an incredibly funny sitcom. The show itself is also experiencing a resurgence of sorts, not just with its 30th anniversary, but also with the upcoming gritty reboot Bel-Air, which has a two-season pickup at Peacock. I also feel like these cast reunions are a smarter way of reliving the former glories of a show without forcing them back into their roles. No one wants to see a contrived sitcom plot where the Banks regather for some reason. The show ended, it ended well, and it’s better to hear the actors reflect on their work rather than try to reprise old roles. No one wants to see a 50-something DJ Jazzy Jeff thrown out the front door in 2020.