Despite annual unofficial reunions among “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” cast, actor Alfonso Ribeiro says that rebooting the hit 1990s sitcom would be “impossible” without his TV dad.
“I think it’s impossible with James Avery being gone,” Ribeiro told PeopleTV’s “Chatter” Tuesday, Oct. 23. “James Avery, he’s actually the most important character on the show. Without him, everything that Will and Carlton did would mean nothing — it’s a bunch of kids acting stupid. There had to be jeopardy, and the way Uncle Phil was going to handle it was the other side of making what Will and Carlton did work. Without him, there is no ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ Is there reboots and stuff like that could happen? I’m sure that could happen, but I continue to say I think it’s very unlikely.”
Avery, who died in 2013 after having open-heart surgery, played Will Smith’s Uncle Phil, in the NBC show that ran from 1990-1996. Before and since then, the cast has reunited in various ways over the years but never on-screen and definitely without Janet Hubert, who played Phil’s wife, Vivian, for the first three seasons.
And on another note, Riberio says that although fans think they want to see the cast reprise their roles 22 years later, he’s doubtful.
“Do we really want to see Will and Carlton in their 40s and 50s?” he added. “I think people think they want to see that, but I don’t think people really want to see that.”
Plus, Riberio, who currently hosts “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” doesn’t think NBC has enough funds to afford Smith.
“Will ain’t coming back! Listen, you know how much money they don’t have to get Will back?” Ribeiro said laughing. “That’s the reality.”
And Smith himself has shut down doing a “Fresh Prince” reboot in his own way. During a 2017 stop on “The Graham Norton Show,” he said he’d be too old to take on his old role.
“I’d have to be Uncle Phil in that one,” he said. “I’m about to be 50. ‘C’mon, Aunt Viv, I’m 50. I can’t go out on my own?'”