From the “Does anyone really want this?” file comes today’s unexpected bit of film news: After 30 years, Eddie Murphy has confirmed the existence of the long-rumored sequel to 1988’s Coming to America. The film would be directed by Craig Brewer, who just worked with Murphy in Netflix’s upcoming Rudy Ray Moore biopic, Dolemite Is My Name. Presumably that film went pretty well, considering that Murphy is eager to immediately work with Brewer again, and resurrect one of his most beloved roles in the process.
The original Coming to America was directed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers) and was a massive success at the box office. Starring Eddie Murphy as the well-intentioned Akeem, a naive and fabulously wealthy African prince who moves to America to find the woman of his dreams, it was a hilarious send-up of ’80s pop culture and American societal conventions. The sequel, with a script from Kenya Barris and original Coming to America writers Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, would reportedly see the return of all the original film’s key characters. According to Deadline:
In the sequel, Akeem learns about a long lost son, and must return to America to meet his unlikely heir to the throne of Zamunda. The intention is to bring back the original cast which includes Arsenio Hall, who played the prince’s aide Semmi; Shari Headley, who was courted by the prince when he went undercover as a fast food worker; John Amos, who played her father; and James Earl Jones, who played the king.
Production would ideally get under way in 2019.
“After many years of anticipation, I’m thrilled that Coming to America 2 is officially moving forward,” said Murphy in a satement. “We’ve assembled a great team that will be led by Craig Brewer, who just did an amazing job on Dolemite, and I’m looking forward to bringing all these classic and beloved characters back to the big screen.”
Kenya Barris also offered a statement: “Craig’s ability to create a distinct cinematic world with each of his films is not only impressive, but also what made him exactly the voice and vision we needed to bring this story to life. From Hustle and Flow to his work with Eddie on Dolemite Is My Name, he never fails to blow me away. He is a true auteur and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on board.”
Given the amount of time that has elapsed, it’s difficult to be terribly optimistic about the likes of Coming to America 2, but perhaps if we’re lucky it can give us one moment as perfect as “She’s Your Queen to Be.”