If there’s one person who can make us fall in love with our planet—even when it’s in peril—that just might be Will Smith. The actor stars in the forthcoming Disney+ and National Geographic series, Welcome to Earth.
Smith is part David Attenborough part Bear Grylls in the new series. The Aladdin star confesses in the trailer that he’s never climbed a mountain or swam in a lake. “I was in a cave once,” he says.
“When [National Geographic] calls you with a crazy idea, you JUST SAY YES!!” he wrote announcing the series on Instagram.
All of that made him an easy target to host the six-part adventure series.
Smith’s pollyanna curiosity is a Covid lockdown programming antidote; he’s an optimistic translation to Attenborough’s recent “dire” warnings about climate change.
But Smith’s levity isn’t misguided. He’s here as much to learn about the plights the planet is facing as much as he is to experience its wonders.
And adventure he does. Smith explores the deep ocean, climbs into volcanoes, and experiences “bucket list” moments like watching a migrating herd of wildebeest in Africa.
“I asked the best modern-day explorers: take me to the ends of the Earth. And they said, ‘Oh, we can go further than that,’” he explains in the trailer. Those modern-day explorers include marine biologist and National Geographic explorer Diva Amon, polar expeditions Dwayne Fields, engineer and National Geographic explorer Albert Lin, National Geographic photographer Cristina Mittermeier and mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer.
All in the family
The series may mark Smith’s first foray into death-defying explorations of the planet, but he’s long been an advocate for protecting it. In 2015, along with his son Jaden, Smith launched Just Water; it uses bottles made from 82% plant-based renewable resources. The company’s goal is to create an “environmental and social value” along the supply chain by working with environmental non-profits, scientists, innovators, and universities.
In 2019, Smith partnered with environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio to launch two eco sneakers with proceeds going to support preservation of the Amazon rainforest.
Eco efforts run in the family—Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith launched a sustainable, vegan budget personal care line at Target earlier this year, and Jaden and Willow Smith’s streetwear brand MSFTS is now sustainably produced, elevating the conversation about conservation with the youth market.
Welcome to Earth looks poised to inspire Smith to stay the course in his environmentalism, and perhaps spark new ideas, too.
“We think we know our planet, but there’s still a secret world to be discovered,” Smith says in the trailer. “If you go to the right place, with the right guide, you might just find a portal into it.”
Executive produced by Smith alongside Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aranokfsy, Welcome to Earth airs on Disney+ in December.