James Earl Jones is returning for long-awaited comedy sequel Coming to America 2 to reprise his role from the original movie. Coming to America was released in 1988 and is today regarded as a classic '80s comedy. Directed by John Landis, the film starred Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem – a pampered African royal from the fictional nation of Zamunda who skirts his parents’ plans for an arranged marriage by travelling to America and posing as a regular person to find true love. It was a massive hit and grossed over $288 million worldwide – which equates to around $625 million today when adjusted for inflation.
In 2017 – almost 30 years after the original movie came out – it was announced that Paramount Pictures were finally making a Coming to America sequel. Earlier this year it was confirmed that Eddie Murphy would reprise his role as Prince Akeem and that the film’s plot would center around him discovering that he has a long-lost son and his quest to find him so he can become heir to the Zamundan throne. Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) is taking over directing duties and working from a script penned by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.
As reported by Deadline, Murphy isn’t the only original cast member returning for Coming to America 2. He’ll be joined by James Earl Jones who will reprise his role as Prince Akeem’s father King Jaffe Joffer. Deadline also provided a few more details about the sequel’s plot – apparently Akeem’s long-lost son is a street-savvy native of Queens and it’s his father’s dying wish for Akeem to groom his son as a suitable heir to the throne that instigates Akeem’s return to America. Given that these details imply that King Jaffe Joffer is on his deathbed, it seems likely that Jones won’t feature all that prominently in Coming to America 2 – perhaps in an opening scene or a few flashback scenes.
According to Deadline’s report, fellow original cast members Arsenio Hall and Paul Bates will also return to reprise their roles as Prince Akeem’s best friend Semmi and his uptight manservant Oha, respectively. Grammy-winning rapper Rick Ross has also joined the Coming to America 2 cast and will be joined by fellow newcomer Wesley Snipes who was recently cast as General Izzi – the ruler of a nation neighboring Zamunda.
The mix of original and new cast members could work well for the sequel, given that there’ll be a mix of familiar and fresh faces. And though making a sequel so long after the original movie might seem like an odd choice, the addition of talents like Kenya Barris will hopefully result in a comedy that’s worthy, funny and relevant. Fans will see how Coming to America 2 turns out when the comedy is released in December 2020.