Burying the hatchet. Will Smith shared a first look at the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s 30th anniversary reunion special with the original cast — including Janet Hubert.
The Men in Black star, 51, posted behind-the-scenes photos via Instagram on Thursday, September 10. One picture showed Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, and DJ Jazzy Jeff on the set of the Banks family’s living room. Another picture showed the Pennsylvania native and Hubert, 64, sitting together and smiling. In a press release, HBO Max confirmed the pair had an “emotional reunion and candid conversation.”
“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! RIP James. #FreshPrince30th,” Smith captioned the post. James Avery — who portrayed patriarch Philip Banks on the hit sitcom — died in 2013.
Fans were shocked to see Smith and Hubert — who originally played Aunt Vivian — reunited for the first time in 27 years and appearing to be on good terms. “Will Smith and OG Aunt Viv (Janet Hubert) for the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air reunion. Hell done froze over!” one person tweeted.
Another fan wrote, “Will Smith and Janet Hubert in the same room … and she’s not slapping the taste out of his mouth. 2020 has truly been a year of s–t I would’ve never seen coming.”
A third person joked, “I’m pretty sure Will Smith and Janet Hubert making up was one of the signs in the book of Revelations.”
Hubert, 64, departed Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993 after she and Smith had difficulties working together on set. The actress was replaced with Reid, 72, for the final three seasons.
Hubert told TMZ in 2011 that she had no plans to reunite with Smith because of their tumultuous relationship.
“There will never be a reunion … as I will never do anything with an a–hole like Will Smith,” she said at the time. “This constant reunion thing will never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn’t know the word.”
The General Hospital actress later criticized Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in 2016 after they announced their plan to boycott the Academy Awards due to a lack of diversity in that year’s nominations.
However, the I Am Legend star only had nice things to say about Hubert’s portrayal of Aunt Viv one month later.
“I think that both of the Aunt Vivs were really, really fantastic,” Smith said during an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra. “I think when you make a show, anytime you make a change, it’s going to be excruciating and painful. I think that Janet Hubert Whitten brought a really powerful dignity to the show.”
He added, “I think she’s brilliant. I think as an artist, there’s so many things that she does: She sings, she dances, she’s like a really powerful artist. So I loved what she brought to The Fresh Prince.”
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special is set to premiere in November on HBO Max.