Thirty years after his original journey, Prince Akeem of the fictional African nation Zamunda is returning to Queens to find an unexpected heir to the throne. Eddie Murphy reprises his role from the 1988 hit comedy “Coming to America” as an overly-coddled Zamundan royal who travels to New York to find the woman of his dreams. While the movie divided critics, it resonated with audiences who were charmed by Murphy’s likable prince; it wound up grossing over $288 million worldwide. Is there enough of an appetite for a sequel 33 years later?
The film’s official synopsis reads: “Set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda, newly-crowned King Akeem (Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an all-new hilarious adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York — where it all began.” The sequel, directed by Craig Brewer and co-written by Kenya Barris, will find the prince grappling with a previous relationship with Mary Junson (former “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones), which led to the birth of a son, Lavelle Junson, played by actor/comedian Jermaine Fowler. Naturally, hijinks and hilarity ensue, as the film’s latest trailer indicates.
The original film’s memorable characters and relatable story of a fish-out-of-water connected with audiences around the world, helping the film reach iconic status. But as American audiences have now been exposed to more complete and authentic accounts of African life — in part due to the global impact of the internet, as well as an increase in Africans becoming even more active in reclaiming their narratives — the question remains, will the sequel be updated to reflect this reality?
Much of the original cast favorites from “Coming to America” return for the sequel, including King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), Queen Lisa (Shari Headley), Cleo McDowell (John Amos), Maurice (Louie Anderson), and the motley barbershop crew. Newcomers to the ensemble are Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha, and Teyana Taylor.
One notable difference between this sequel and the original 1988 film is that the follow-up is rated PG-13, while the first film was rated R. Audiences should expect a relatively cleaned up, likely more family-friendly outing this time around. And families will indeed be able to check out the film en masse: In November 2020, Amazon Studios acquired worldwide rights to “Coming 2 America” from Paramount Pictures.
This long-awaited sequel will launch worldwide in over 240 countries and territories on Prime Video on March 5, 2021. Check out the newest trailer for “Coming 2 America” below.