As far as pop culture is concerned, Alfonso Ribeiro and Carlton Banks are synonymous with each other, so likely many enjoyed seeing the actor reminisce about his beloved character with Will Smith and their former castmates on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion. But there was one moment from the reunion that may have really stood out for fans -- when Ribeiro entered the stage from the staircase, unlike his co-stars. Now, the actor has revealed the special meaning behind this entrance.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air series finale was a huge moment for '90s television, to say the least. It was filled with many big moments, including the Banks family going their separate ways. And as usual, Alfonso Ribeiro’s Carlton stole the show in its closing moments. Extra interviewed the actor about the Fresh Prince reunion, and he began by talking about the significance of the way he entered the re-created set:
Yeah, I came from the staircase, kind of felt the right way for me to enter because that’s the last time they ever saw me on the show. In the last episode, everybody leaves, and I was in the bathroom, and I was like, ‘Where everybody go?’ And then I run through, and Will kind of comes out and sees me run out the door. So, it kind of made sense for me to kind of enter in the way like that last moment on the series.
Considering how special that moment was in the Fresh Prince finale, it was nice of both Alfonso Ribeiro and the reunion’s producers to recreate it. It both acknowledged the original series and created a fresh moment for newer fans. The special entrance was just one of the reunion's many special moments, such as the first ever meeting between the two Aunt Viv actresses.
Carlton Banks was one of the most popular and iconic characters in the '90s, thanks to Alfonso Ribeiro’s comedic timing and acting skills. And even today, the Carlton dance is still widely referenced in pop culture. Believe it or not, the actor is still surprised he even got the role after what he felt was a disastrous audition involving a tracksuit and bad acting. But had things not worked out with Fresh Prince, the actor had another gig lined up, as he could’ve been a full cast member on another NBC sitcom – A Different World. So looking back, the actor had two incredible options but chose the right one for him and his career.
Playing Carlton wasn't always easy, though, as the actor and host has admitted to holding some resentment towards his role as Carlton for a time. But it's clear to see he now still holds plenty of affection for his preppy character.
The recreation of that special finale moment for the reunion speaks to how invested and thoughtful Alfonso Ribeiro and the producers were. The reunion was filled with little details only hardcore fans would catch, and they likely appreciated the nod to Carlton's final comedic scene. If you want to check out Ribeiro’s special entrance and more from Will Smith and the cast and crew, you can stream The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion on HBO Max.