Before Black Panther introduced mainstream pop culture to the delights of the nation of Wakanda, there was the nation of Zamunda, which featured prominently in the Eddie Murphy-led 1988 classic Coming to America. Now, as Murphy prepares to serve up the sequel to the hit film, more than three decades later, the actor explained to Essence magazine how important it was to him that the sequel be a worthy follow-up to the world showcased in the original film.
"Coming to America is one of my films that has really worked its way into the culture. People get dressed up as the characters for Halloween, and they still walk around saying catchphrases like 'Sexual Chocolate.' All of that stuff just kind of stayed around-like Randy Watson doing the very first mic drop... The one thing that I didn't want to do was a bad sequel to a movie that a lot of people have a lot invested. A lot of people grew up watching Coming to America. It's special to them. So, you don't want to taint that."
In the upcoming Coming 2 America, Murphy returns as Akeem Joffer, the new king of Zamunda, who discovers that he has a son growing up in America whose existence had been kept a secret from him. Joffer embarks on a second voyage to America to meet his son and groom him to become the new Crown Prince of Zamunda. According to Murphy, Coming 2 America is going to follow in the footsteps of the original by telling a black-led modern fairytale that audiences can find comfort in.
"The legacy of Coming to America is that it is unique, it's rare. Black people, we don't get a lot of movies like this one. Coming to America is a romantic fantasy comedy. Usually, when we see ourselves on the screen, it's heavy things...Rarely do we get just to go see some escapism. Just to go see a movie and not have to think about any of that stuff. Coming to America is an all-Black cast, but the movie's not about race. It's not about, having a foot in your ass or 'Wake up' or 'Keep hope alive.' It's none of those things that you can just go and sit back and watch the movie. And it's about these people and it's about somebody that's trying to find true love. It's like a fantasy, like a fairy tale. And that's the legacy of the movie that it's one of the few romantic fairytales with Black people. I think that's why we love it. That's why 30 years later, we still watch it and they show it on Christmas and all that. Cause it's this sweet thing."
Directed by Craig Brewer, Coming 2 America stars Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Teyana Taylor, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Paul Bates, Nomzamo Mbatha and Bella Murphy. The film arrives on Amazon Prime Video on March 5. Essence.