Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan make up one of the best director-actor collaborations working today thanks to their critically acclaimed features “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed,” and “Black Panther,” but it turns out a potential fourth project was rejected by none other than Eddie Murphy. In an interview with The New York Times, Murphy reveals he rejected an idea for a “Coming to America” sequel cracked by Coogler.
“[Coogler] had an idea for Michael B. Jordan to play my son and he would be looking for a wife,” Murphy said. “I was like, then the movie would be about the son, it’s not our characters, we already did that. It didn’t come together.”
Neither Murphy nor anyone involved with the original “Coming to America” expected to make a sequel during the production and release of the movie. “The way the story ended was kind of like, ‘And they lived happily ever after,'” Murphy said. “Then all this time passed and the movie became this cult thing. Catchphrases from the movie start working their way into the culture. Stores turning themselves into McDowell’s [where Prince Akeem worked.] I see Beyoncé and Jay-Z dressed up like the Zamunda characters for Halloween.”
The film’s enduring popularity changed Murphy’s mind about a sequel, but he was not interested in Coogler’s idea about building a “Coming to America” follow-up entirely around Murphy’s character’s son, even if the character was to be played by Michael B. Jordan. The official sequel, titled “Coming 2 America” stars Jermaine Fowler as the son, but the storyline centers around Murphy’s Akeem and Arsenio Hall’s Semmi instead. In the sequel, the two character venture to Queens to track down Akeem’s long lost son so they can groom him to be the new crown prince.
“Coming 2 America” is directed by Craig Brewer, who directed Murphy in the Netflix hit biographical comedy movie “Dolemite Is My Name.” The supporting cast includes Wesley Snipes (who also appeared in “Dolemite Is My Name”), Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, and James Earl Jones. Murphy originally wanted Morgan to play his son, only to realize Morgan was not the appropriate age. “Coming 2 America” begins streaming March 5 on Amazon Prime Video.