Alfonso Ribeiro Reveals A ‘Fresh Prince’ Reboot Can’t Happen Without James Avery: ‘Uncle Phil Was The Core’

This is a story all about how a 'Fresh Prince' reboot may never happen. Alfonso Ribeiro tells HL why.

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As beloved, once-cancelled shows continue to get rebooted, Alfonso Ribeiro answered all of our questions about the possibility of a Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air revival. “I’ve continued to say, and I will say this probably forever, is there’s just no real reboot of that show without James Avery,” the actor, who once played Carlton in the NBC sitcom, revealed on the HollywoodLife Podcast in an EXCLUSIVE interview. “Even though it’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Will [Smith] is the star, the core of the show was Uncle Phil.”

James Avery, whose Phillip Banks was ranked in TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time,” died in 2013 after complications during open heart surgery. He was 68 at the time. Will Smith commented on his death at the time, saying, “Some of my greatest lessons in acting, living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace.”

In addition to missing “the core of the show,” James Avery, Alfonso added, “we stopped doing it because we felt like the show couldn’t be better when we were doing it.” “The concept behind the show is about Will moving to Bel-Air to change his life. Well we ended it, and his life was changed. Where does it go?” he explained. “I think we told the stories we needed to tell, I think it’s time to end this. So it’s kind of hard to go, ‘let’s make another one.’ You can’t remake The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.”

Photo by Amanda Jones for HollywoodLife

Alfonso is never saying never, though, and admitted he’s open to other concepts that could work concerning the show, but Will’s story was finished back when the series ended in 1996.

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