(L-R) Joseph Marcell, Vernee Christell Watson-Johnson, Will Smith, and Tatyana Ali attend Peacock’s new series “BEL-AIR” premiere party and drive-thru screening experience at Barker Hangar on February 09, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/WireImage)
*Season 2 of Peacock’s critically acclaimed drama series “BEL-AIR” premieres next month and an old but familiar face has joined the cast.
This season finds Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley Banks in the original “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” joining the cast as a recurring guest star. Banks will play “Mrs. Hughes,” the English Literature teacher at Bel-Air middle school who sees something special in Ashley, often giving her books from her personal collection, per news release.
“Bel-Air” stars Jabari Banks (Will), Adrian Holmes (Philip Banks), Cassandra Freeman (Vivian Banks), Olly Sholotan (Carlton Banks), Coco Jones (Hilary Banks), Akira Akbar (Ashley Banks), Jimmy Akingbola (Geoffrey), Jordan L. Jones (Jazz) and Simone Joy Jones (Lisa).
Season 2 continues Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Los Angeles, where he is now at a crossroads with new family dynamics, love interests and athletic ambitions. Check out the season 2 trailer below. Banks appears around the 1:13 mark.
“In season two, the show will continue to find ways to push the envelope and feel refreshing and unique while also honoring the heart of the legacy series,” said Showrunner/EP/Writer, Carla Banks Waddles in a statement.
Waddles continued: “Last season was very much about the introduction to the Banks family world, and this season we get to go deeper with some of the themes we touched on— What it truly means to be a family even when it’s challenging. How do you rebuild trust within a family? How do you find your own way, your individualism within a family? We’ll also explore Will’s character beyond feeling like a fish-out-of-water. He’s now struggling to find a balance of maintaining his independence and his West Philly identity while also being open to new opportunities for himself in Bel-Air. Viv and Phil are also trying to find a balance as they parent teenagers who think they have all the answers — Allowing Will and their children the freedom to make their own decisions, while also guiding with a gentle, and sometimes firm hand,” she explained.
“We love that the Banks family is aspirational, but more important, they’re accessible and grounded. This entire cast brings so much of themselves to this show —talent and enthusiasm, but also a real respect, genuine love and thoughtfulness for these characters and their relationships. I love talking with them and hearing how they see and experience these characters. It all leads to a very collaborative and rich storytelling process that feels authentic,” Waddles added.
Executive Producer Morgan Cooper shared: ”Man, it feels so good to be back! The response from the fans in season one was electrifying, and we couldn’t be more excited to have Carla Waddles taking the reins as showrunner for season two. She has an incredible perspective and voice that jumps off the page and challenges our amazing cast to go even deeper in their character journeys. The future of our show is bright and I can’t wait for fans to see what’s in store for the Banks family in season two. EVERYONE is ready to level up in this new chapter, especially Will, who’s determined to become his own man after the fallout with Lou and the Banks family in the season one finale. The themes of trust, pride and ambition are at the forefront, and all our characters find themselves at unique crossroads that will be life changing.”
Catch the new season of “Bel Air” when it kicks off on February 23 with new episodes streaming Thursdays on Peacock.
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