The “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is celebrating 30 years since its premiere with an unscripted special scheduled for around Thanksgiving on HBO Max.
Will Smith shared a glimpse of the moment with two reunion shots on his Instagram, and the second one certainly got everyone’s attention. In it, Smith could be seen laughing and smiling with former co-star Janet Hubert.
For those not in the know, this is a huge deal. The original Aunt Viv on the series, Hubert famously left the show after three seasons due to her very public dislike of its leading man, a dislike she has echoed in the intervening years.
In fact, as recently as 2011, Hubert told TMZ that she would never participate in a reunion “as I will never do anything with an a–hole like Will Smith,” calling him an “egomaniac” who “has not grown up.”
“This … reunion thing will never happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology,” she said. “Which he doesn’t know the word.” Could an apology be part of their conversation?
The first image featured Smith, Tatyana Ali, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid (the second Aunt Viv) and even DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted! So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax!” Smith captioned his post, including a tribute to the late James Avery, who played his Uncle Phil.
That reunion is an unscripted special for the show’s anniversary slated for the streamer by Thanksgiving. While it’s not yet clear how the reunion will be structured, though Deadline describes it as “a night of music, dancing and surprise guests,” it looks like at the very least fans will get to see Smith and Hubert hopefully talk things out.
At the time of her departure, Smith suggested that ego was a factor, joking in interviews that she wanted it to be the “Aunt Viv of Bel-Air” show. She has insisted that simply wasn’t true, insisting she was always a professional on the set.
In 2016, as covered then by Us Weekly, Hubert said that at least part of the problem was that Smith was not willing to help the rest of the cast fight for more in their contract negotiations, purportedly telling them, “My deal is my deal, and y’alls deal is y’alls deal.”
She told “The Real” that same year that as recently as 2009 she was asking Smith, through his manager, to at least be honest about her behavior on set after he’s smeared her in the press all those years ago.
Hopefully, this conversation between the two can be healing as Hubert was a huge part of the success of the show. Certainly fans were thrilled to see her represented, getting “Aunt Viv” trending on Twitter in their excitement.
Aunt Viv coming into the reunion like… pic.twitter.com/g9CnXKQwWx
— ?? (@LifeWitMikeB) September 11, 2020
2020 has done it all.
Even reunited the original Aunt Viv with Will Smith.
— My Books Cause Orgasms???? (@quardeay) September 10, 2020
OMFG! Will and Aunt Viv Reunion!!!! ????????? pic.twitter.com/dNCI3dErxN
— gregarious (@mistergeezy) September 10, 2020
Will Smith and Janet Hubert aka OG Aunt Viv being seen in a photo together was not on my 2020 bingo sheet at ALL. ? pic.twitter.com/CBh3vLLL3a
— Brandon Gray (@BGisBrandonGray) September 11, 2020
Will Smith and OG Aunt Viv (Janet Hubert) for the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air reunion. Hell done froze over! pic.twitter.com/Tipxj6WV0F
— Ronald Isley (@yoyotrav) September 10, 2020
First things first RIP Uncle Phil?? but this is dope Will & the real Aunt Viv squashing their beef after all these years ??? https://t.co/5FzYbiqi9A
— Dre (@DreDay416_) September 10, 2020
We’re really about to see a sit down between Will Smith and The Real Aunt Viv.
The emotions. pic.twitter.com/PDuF6soxkP
— Jessica Fyre?? (@TheJessieWoo) September 11, 2020
The real Aunt Viv is back! pic.twitter.com/jMJbCadKy4
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) September 11, 2020
If the OG Aunt Viv & Will Smith can bury the hatchet, then anything is possible! ?? https://t.co/thYB6a2veP
— LikeAFire (@DabneyLife) September 11, 2020
A Janet Hubert (dark skinned Aunt Viv) and Will Smith reunion is NOT something that I saw on my 2020 forecast! pic.twitter.com/a5agAb9GtJ
— ? (@OmgKenActually) September 10, 2020
I said September be good to us and look, Will Smith and the original Aunt Viv actress Janet Louise Hubert made up. Coincidence? I think not. pic.twitter.com/tTErXf0fq5
— nathan (@868nathan) September 11, 2020