This is the story all about how… the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion brought a surprise that no one saw coming.
Everyone’s favorite Bel-Air family returns to their old TV home for the sitcom’s 30th anniversary special. Organized by series star Will Smith himself, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion special hits HBO Max today (November 19).
In the special, the former cast mates congregate on a set identical to the setup on Fresh Prince. The original series ran for 148 episodes on NBC from 1990 to 1996. The good-natured sitcom revolved around a street-smart teen (Smith) who moves from West Philadelphia (“born and raised!”) to LA to live with his wealthy relatives in their Bel-Air mansion.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special features an hour of unscripted remembrances from Smith, but the gang’s all here. You’ll see Daphne Maxwell Reid, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Alfonso Ribeiro, and even DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Notably absent, though, is James Avery, who played family patriarch Philip “Uncle Phil” Banks. Unfortunately, Avery passed away in 2013 after complications from heart surgery. The anniversary special features a touching tribute to him.
Of course, there’s one more person from the Banks family that’s missing — the original Aunt Viv.
Fans of the show are well-aware that Janet Hubert originated the role of Aunt Vivian, but left after three seasons. It was reportedly due to personal circumstances, and clashing with Smith. She was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Viv 2.0, if you will).
Smith and Hubert spent nearly 30 years locked in a bitter feud. The pair fell out, with Hubert calling Smith an “egomaniac” and blamed will for her exit from the popular sitcom.
However, the reunion special has one big surprise for everyone: the return of Hubert!
For the first time in 27 years, we get to see Smith and Hubert meet face-to-face — but more importantly, they hashed it out and squashed the 27-year feud.
“Why? Why so far? You guys went so far,” Hubert said. “I lost so much.”
Hubert, who was pregnant during the show’s third season, revealed that she was in an abusive marriage at the time. She admitted that she was “no longer laughing, smiling, joking” because of the situation.
Smith admitted that he wasn’t sensitive to her needs at the time. But he said that now having children has opened his eyes to how he treated her at the time, and admitted, “I can see how I made the set very difficult for Janet.”
An emotional Hubert also talked about how being labeled as “difficult” tanked her career, and she “lost everything. Reputation. Everything.”
But Hubert said, “But it was necessary for us to finally move forward, and I’m sorry that I have blasted you to pieces.”
And just like that, Aunt Viv and Will made up after 27 years.
Check out The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion trailer from Will Smith here: