Alfonso Ribeiro Casts Doubt On ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Reboot Without Uncle Phil

The actor thinks Will and Carlton are too old, and late star James Avery's missing character too important, for a reboot to ever work.

Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The actor thinks Will and Carlton are too old, and late star James Avery's missing character too important, for a reboot to ever work.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air doesn’t need a reboot, at least according to original series star Alfonso Ribeiro. The actor, who played Carlton Banks for six seasons on the NBC sitcom, told interviewer Mario Lopez that he doesn’t think that a reboot of the beloved ’90s sitcom will ever happen. His reasons include the now-adult characters’ ages and the death of James Avery, who played the Banks family patriarch on the original series. Avery died in 2013 at age 68, according to the New York Daily News.

“I think it’s impossible with James Avery being gone. Do we really want to see Will and Carlton in their… you know, 40s and 50s? James Avery, right, he’s actually the most important character on the show. Without him, everything that Will and Carlton did would mean nothing.”

James Avery’s Uncle Phil was the voice of reason to Ribeiro and co-star Will Smith’s characters on The Fresh Prince. Ribeiro previously said that the late actor’s absence would be too great for a reboot to ever work.

“I don’t think we feel as a cast that we would do even our fans justice by trying to make something that we all felt like (Avery) was the centerpiece (of) — he was the nucleus of that show. Without him, it just doesn’t work.”

In 2015, news of a possible Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot by Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment, was reported by TV Line. At the time, sources told the site that the company was in the early stages of developing a modern-day family sitcom modeled after Fresh Prince, executive produced by Will Smith himself.

While that reboot never came to fruition, earlier this year, TMZ reported that a female-fronted Fresh Prince reboot is in the works.

The company that owns the rights to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reportedly filed several trademark applications seeking to secure rights to the name “Fresh Princess” for a television program — and multiple other other media platforms. The company also hopes to trademark the “Fresh Princess” label for merchandise sales of bags, backpacks, animal collars, and shoes.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six years on NBC, from 1990 to 1996, and it effectively launched Will Smith’s acting career after his rap hit — “Parents Just Don’t Understand” — made his “Fresh Prince” moniker a household name. The sitcom also starred Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, and James Avery as members of the wealthy Banks family — who took in their “troubled” teen cousin when he showed up on their doorstep after getting into fights in his hometown of Philadelphia.