'Bel-Air' Creator Morgan Cooper Reveals Why Geoffrey Was Almost Axed From the Reboot (EXCLUSIVE)
I’ma let y’all finish, but Geoffrey from Bel-Air had the greatest glow-up of all time.
Although actor Joseph Marcell from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will always hold a special place in our hearts, Jimmy Akingbola’s portrayal of the character in the Peacock reboot has us all smitten.
Season 1 of Bel-Air saw Geoffrey and Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes) get into a spat that had serious consequences. Not only did Will (played by Jabari Banks) leave the Banks mansion, but Geoffrey was fired.
Although he’s quickly become a fan-favorite character among viewers, Bel-Air series creator Morgan Cooper revealed in an exclusive interview with Distractify that Geoffrey wasn’t even in the reboot at first. Here’s why…
The creator of ‘Bel-Air’ revealed Geoffrey wasn’t originally in the reboot: "It just felt like a dated concept."
Morgan almost broke the internet in 2019 when he released a fake trailer on YouTube for what would become his modern-day rendition of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — so much so, that it caught the eye of the original Fresh Prince.
As an executive producer on the Peacock series, Will Smith played a part in developing the reboot from start to finish.
In the beginning, Morgan opted out of including the Banks’s butler in the reboot. “I didn't want there to be a Geoffrey in the show. It just felt like a dated concept for a Black family to have a Black butler,” Morgan told Distractify.
“Thirty years ago in a comedy is one thing, but to ground that in a modern-day drama just didn't sit well with me,” he added.
However, with an additional push from Will, Morgan had a change of heart.
"I was down in Miami talking to Will about Geoffrey. And I remember him saying, ‘Morgan, just stick with it. I know there's something there … just like stick with it. Come back to me in a week and see what you got,'" he recalled.
“I was thinking about Geoffrey and this backstory hit me about a man who had a life way back in East London and a storied past.”
Thus, Jimmy Akingbola’s Geoffrey was born.
What happened to Geoffrey on ‘The Fresh Prince’? Geoffrey’s backstory is explored in Season 2 of ‘Bel-Air.’
In The Fresh Prince, Geoffrey was an auxiliary character who we knew little about. It wasn’t until later in the series that showrunners gave us a glimpse of who he really was behind the bowtie.
In Bel-Air, Geoffrey’s backstory is explored. This is especially true in Season 2, Morgan revealed.
“I built this backstory out and developed Geoffrey 2.0 as this guy who is the residential manager of the Banks mansion, but also, he moonlights as a fixer for Phil,” the series creator explained.
Much like in the original Fresh Prince, Geoffrey has an estranged son, who takes center stage this season on Bel-Air. In fact, it’s his son who inspired Geoffrey to make the decision that put him at odds with Phil last season.
“He's his right-hand, man. He's his muscle sometimes. That's the value that he brings to that family,” Morgan shared, adding that his friendship with Phil is “really rooted in a deep, deep loyalty that Geoffrey and Phil have towards each other.”
“That's why, at the end of Season 1, Phil felt so betrayed by Geoffrey when Geoffrey decides to tell the truth about [Will's] father … because they have a loyalty that runs so deep and that comes from Geoffrey’s [backstory] and how he and Phil met.”
“Those two have been through a lot together,” the showrunner said of the duo.
New episodes of Bel-Air drop on Peacock every Thursday!