Missed the recent Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion or simply don’t have HBO Max? No worries! We’ll break down the highlights, let downs, and fan-favorite moments from the long-awaited reunion!
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion on HBO Max
Fans have begged for it for decades, and now it’s finally happened: a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion! Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, and DJ Jazzy Jeff came together to discuss the show and its most iconic moments on HBO’s streaming service, HBO Max. Of course, as you might imagine, Smith led most of the conversations, as the star of the show. Throughout the reunion, fans learned quite a bit about how the rapper-turned-actor approached the first major role of his life. For instance, he let everyone in on a little secret: in the first season, Smith learned everyone’s lines, as he was so nervous he’d miss one of his! “That’s painful to watch,” Smith said of the first season of Fresh Prince.
Meanwhile, nearly everyone on the cast opened up about diversity in Hollywood at one point or another. “We would come across moments that they wrote that were like, ‘This wouldn’t happen, Black people don’t do this;’ we made sure that we were authentic every episode,” said Ribeiro. And, as Smith pointed out, those conversations are still very relevant today.
Sadly, the reunion did have one central character missing…
A Certain Fatherly Figure
During the most tearful moment of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion, the cast remembered actor James Avery who played Smith’s father figure, Uncle Phil. Avery tragically passed away in 2013, at the age of 68-years-old. According to the whole team, the actor was a dad to everyone on set. “I wanted him to think I was good so bad,” Smith said. In particular, Smith recalled the scene where his character broke down in Avery’s arms.
“I wanted him to be proud of me. So the episode comes and we come to that scene and I was like, I want to deliver this scene so bad…I fall into his arms at the end of the scene and he’s holding me and the shot pans off and he whispered in me ear, ‘Now that’s acting.” As you might imagine, the entire cast teared up while watching the scene.
While Avery might have been missing, one cast member that no one expected to return made a special appearance…
OG Aunt Viv
For those who don’t know, Janet Hubert, who originally played the character Aunt Viv, left the show in the third season. In fact, when she left, it became a major story. Anonymous sources claimed that Smith wanted Hubert out. Meanwhile, others claimed it had to do with a bad deal. So, no one expected Hubert to pop up in the reunion. But she did! And it went very well! She and Smith simply sat and listened to each other’s story. According to Hubert, she did receive a bad deal from the studio, which, along with an abusive marriage and pregnancy, led to her leaving the show. “I was hurt deeply,” she said. “I just stopped talking to everybody because I didn’t who to trust because I had been banished. And they said it was you who banished me. Because you were Will. It was hard.”
Meanwhile, Smith apologized for acting rudely, saying he felt threatened by the whole situation. “I was so driven by fear,” he admitted. “I have children. I’ve been divorced and I have a second marriage, and I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was just for you to show up every day.” Thankfully, the segment ended with Hubert and Smith hugging.
“I don’t want to be that guy. I go out into the world and talk about understanding and human relationships and then have somebody that I haven’t spoken to in 27 years,” Smith added. “I’m so happy that we were able to make that reconciliation, and I hope other people can take something from it.”