Will Smith is finally developing a spin-off of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but apparently the series almost had a different spin-off years ago. According to Don Cheadle, who appeared in a one-time guest role as Will's old pal Ice Tray on Season 1's "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy," he almost starred in a spin-off of his own centered on his character.
While appearing on People's Party with Talib Kweli, Cheadle revealed that he actually shot a pilot for a series focused on Ice Tray. The series would have been titled In the House — a moniker that was ultimately reserved for L.L. Cool J's '90s sitcom, which shared executive producers with Fresh Prince.
"It's funny because I was dating [Fresh Prince actress] Karyn Parsons at the time, but [the audition] was not connected to that. It was totally random," Cheadle explained.
He went on to reveal, "By the middle of our shooting — 'cause ... it's shot in front of a live audience, so you come to a table read Monday, Tuesday rehearse, Wednesday rehearse, Thursday do it in front of a live audience — so, by that Thursday, the producers said, 'We actually want to do a spin-off around your character.' And we shot a whole pilot. Didn't get picked up."
Cheadle's character, Ice Tray, was a friend from Will's past who was invited to visit as a way to cheer him up, but his boisterous personality did not impress many members of the Banks family — except for Hilary. Ice Tray and Hilary had a brief romantic relationship and purposefully drove her parents crazy with jokes about eloping or tattooing his initials on her body. His character wasn't just a source of jokes and scorn, though; it was also revealed that he protected Will from bullies back in Philadelphia. Cheadle didn't elaborate on how his character's story could have been extended for a spin-off.