The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special will hit HBO Max on Nov. 19, and as you may have heard, both Aunt Vivs will be there.
On Friday, Philly’s Will Smith released the trailer for the 30th anniversary celebration, which was taped Sept. 10 and features reminiscences from most of the surviving cast members, including Daphne Maxwell Reid, who replaced Janet Hubert as Smith’s aunt in the show’s final three seasons.
Hubert’s departure from the show reportedly stemmed from difficulties between her and Smith, but it looks as if enough time has passed. “I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without Janet,” says Smith in the final moments of the trailer as we see Hubert’s arrival and a cut to other cast members gasping, Bachelor reunion-style.
Like the coronavirus-delayed Friends special that was announced in February, and still hasn’t happened, the Fresh Prince reunion is a gimmick designed to promote a streaming library of reruns. HBO Max has exclusive streaming rights to all 148 episodes of the show, which ran for six seasons. It launched Smith’s acting career, with the Grammy-winning rapper starring as a teen from West Philly sent to live with rich relatives in California. (“I got in one little fight and my mom got scared and said, ‘You’re moving with your auntie and your uncle in Bel-Air.’”)
Produced by Westbrook Media, whose founders include Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, the special includes, besides Reid and Hubert, series regulars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, and Alfonso Ribeiro, as well as Philly’s own DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffrey A. Townes). James Avery, who played Smith’s Uncle Philip, died in 2013, and is eulogized by his costars.