Bel-Air begins when Will Smith gets into trouble at home in West Philadelphia, causing his mother to send him to live with his aunt and uncle in the wealthy LA suburb. After moving in with his family and starting school with his cousin Carlton, Will slowly finds his footing and learns how to handle his new environment and community. The dramatic reimagining of the beloved 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air just returned for season 2 on Peacock, and it’s already shaking up the game.


Bel-Air’s second season explores the aftermath of Will’s discovery surrounding his father and Uncle Phil. After feeling betrayed, Will begins to explore LA outside of Bel-Air, refocusing on basketball and the future it could provide. Carlton and Will grow closer over the season, while Geoffrey and Phil must face the rift created between them in the first season.

Related: Bel-Air’s Lou Change Makes Will’s Backstory Even More Tragic

Screen Rant spoke with Olly Sholotan, Adrian Holmes, and Jimmy Akingbola about Bel-Air season 2. Sholotan discussed Carlton’s mental health and evolving relationship with Will. Akingbola teased whether or not he thinks Geoffrey and Phil’s friendship can be repaired. Holmes shared how Phil has been impacted by Will’s anger and discussed the return to his law firm after the race for DA.

Olly Sholotan, Adrian Holmes & Jimmy Akingbola on Bel-Air Season 2

Jabari Banks as Will Smith and Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks

Screen Rant: I love this show, and every single one of you guys are tremendous, amazing actors. Olly, Will and Carlton’s relationship has really overcome a lot from season 1 to season 2. Can you talk a little bit about how their dynamic continues to grow? Especially with Will pushing Carlton outside of his comfort zone, like joining the Black Student Union.

Olly Sholotan: That growth is one of my favorite things that we’ve gotten to explore this season. Because season 1, they were very much at each other’s throats. And for kind of most of the season, they did not get along. And I think that’s something that I know audiences wanted to see: was that relationship that was more akin to the original Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But with our show, we really, really took the time for them to get there. And they had to overcome a lot of perceptions of difference between them.

And so in this season, you very much see them walking step by step and in the ways that they thought that they were different before they’ve found similarities. I just think it leads to beautiful onscreen friendship and brotherhood. But it’s not without its own challenges, with Will pushing him out of his comfort zone. They do have to deal with the repercussions of Carlton’s mental health and Carlton’s issues with his identity within various communities. Their friendship grows and evolves, and I think it’s gonna surprise a lot of viewers with where it goes in the season.

Adrian, Phil is in a very different place than he was in season 1. He’s dropped out of the election, he’s at odds with Will, and he’s lost his best friend Geoffrey. How will Phil find his footing this season? And can you talk a little bit about some of the challenges that Phil has especially entering back into the law firm?

Adrian Holmes: That’s a good question. He has to try and figure out his career, get focused on what direction he wants to go. And he learned a lot when he was running for DA with the community and just things that need to be done. Also his wife was there with him and her art, and he’s just trying to make everything come together and be balanced. But now he doesn’t have Geoffrey in this house. A lot of things that were being taken care of, he has to now step in and fill those shoes.

With Will, there was a betrayal of trust there that he feels bad about. He’s kind of confused, because he meant very well, right, but it’s all about perspective. He needs to take accountability for his actions, and he just has to figure out what’s best for everyone. He can’t just think about what’s best for him, he has to do what’s best for the family. And everybody is feeling a little bit wobbly, a little unstable. And my job or Phillips job is to create that stability. And in order to do that, he has to get out of his comfort zone. And just to take accountability, as I said, and do whatever he has to do to get his brother back because he knows how important Geoffrey is to him in his life and the family.

Well, you’re gonna see him trying to navigate his way back and figure out exactly how to structure that. It’s beautifully done. I’m excited to for everyone to see that, and we’ve got some great guest stars that we brought into the show that I got to work with.

I’ll keep that quiet, but look for it. There’s so many nuggets on this season. Tatyana Ali is one of them and, as everyone knows, she’s amazing. She was amazing to work with. She loved being on the show, and seeing her and Ashley together was a moment for sure.

geoffrey & phil in bel-air

Real passing of the torch moment. Jimmy, every time I see Geoffrey on screen I get excited because I know it’s about to go down. Geoffrey and Phil’s relationship took a real hit light last year, as the argument came to a head with both believing they had Will’s best interest at heart. How does this change their dynamic? Is there any way for Phil and Geoffrey to reconcile?

Jimmy Akingbola: It’s fractured the dynamic; the friendship is fractured. It’s split. I don’t know. I’m being really honest. I think they damaged it. I think they were both affected by it. And I think Geoffrey is spiraling in some ways; he’s very angry at Phil, but also, what Will’s situation did for Geoffrey was trigger his own stuff and [get him] thinking about his own family issues.

I think a bit of distance is done him a lot of good, but also, I think he’s allowed that feeling of anger and frustration we feel build up. Healing takes time. There’s some family members in these days, they don’t speak for years. Some friends that have a disagreement and don’t speak again. We definitely lean into the possibility of that, I will say that much. And you’re gonna have to keep tuning in and see if they do get back together, because we left it at such a high stake that sometimes you can’t come back from.

Olly, I absolutely love the exploration of Carlton’s anxiety and mental health. Can you talk to me about why that storyline and the importance of showing mental health, especially in the Black community?

Olly Sholotan: First of all, thank you. I appreciate that. As a community, I still don’t think we talk enough about mental health and how it’s something that each and every one of us deal with. We are experiencing one of the worst mental health crises in history, and kids are telling us day in and day out that everyone’s struggling.

My goal as an artist is always to show truth on screen. If one person can watch this show and feel seen, recognized, and validated, then I think that I’ve done my job. And so I experienced no greater joy and greater pride than knowing that we’re inspiring real conversations that people get to look at their own lives and then really, hopefully, do something about.

About Bel-Air

Uncle Phil talking to Will in Bel Air

A dramatic adaptation of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Bel-Air follows Will Smith, a street-smart teen from West Philadelphia who gets into trouble. To protect him, Will’s mother sends him to live with relatives in LA’s wealthiest suburbs, which is only the beginning of a complicated journey for the teenager.

Check back for our other Bel-Air season 2 interviews:

Next: Bel-Air Finale Hints At Repeating Fresh Prince Season 4’s Philly Twist

Bel-Air season 2 is now streaming on Peacock.

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