Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Janet Hubert, who originally played Aunt Viv on the show, is returning for the one-off reunion special.
Will Smith confirmed the news with a behind-the-scenes post on Instagram of returning cast members, including Alfonso Ribeiro, Daphne Maxwell Reid, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons and Joseph Marcell.
“Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted!” Smith wrote on Instagram. “So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax! RIP James [Avery, who played Uncle Phil]. #FreshPrince30th”
The news of Hubert’s involvement might come as a surprise since she said in 2011 “there will never be a reunion” before she later criticised the cast in 2017 for reuniting without her (via Digital Spy).
Hubert played Aunt Viv on the show for the first three seasons of Fresh Prince before leaving in 1993.
The upcoming special, expected to air around Thanksgiving on HBO Max, has been described as “a funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and special surprise guests, in honour of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes”.
Meanwhile, a spin-off series titled Bel-Air has been ordered for two seasons at Peacock, taking stock of a viral video made by superfan Morgan Cooper which reimagined the sitcom as a drama.
Cooper will co-write and direct the series, while Chris Collins (The Wire) will serve as showrunner. Bel-Air will take the form of a one-hour drama, set in modern-day America, imagining Will’s journey from West Philadelphia to Bel-Air as in the original series. The show’s creators Andy and Susan Borowitz will also return as executive producers.