Eddie Murphy: I didn’t want to do a bad sequel to a movie people grew up watching

The sequel that I have been waiting over 30 years for will finally drop on Amazon Prime on March 5. Coming to America was one of my favorite movies as a kid. From Sexual Chocolate to Soul Glow, what is there not to love about that movie? I have been stoked since the sequel was announced last year and have been impatiently awaiting it. Of course this is from someone who is hating all of the reboots and sequels. As an 80s kid, Coming to America is so significant to me. The fact that the “mic drop” was culturally solidified by Randy “Sexual Chocolate” Watson says so much about Coming to America’s cultural influence.

Eddie Murphy was profiled in Essence’s March issue. He said that he didn’t want to “make a bad sequel,” for such a cult classic. Eddie went on to talk about the impact of Coming to America on American culture. Below are a few excerpts:

One of the greatest cultural moments of Barack Obama’s presidency was when he hit guests at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner with a mic drop in 2016. Twenty-eight years earlier, however, one of the most memorable mic drops to ever be performed on screen happed in the cult classic Coming to America, and we have Randy Watson, aka, Eddie Murphy, to thank for it.

“Coming to America is one of my films that has really worked its way into the culture,” Murphy tells ESSENCE in the cover story for the March/April issue. “People get dressed up as the characters for Halloween, and they still walk around saying catch phrases 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,” he says. “A lot of people grew up watching Coming to America. It’s special to them. So, you don’t want to taint that.”

And it’s not just the comedy that makes the film special, Murphy adds, reflecting on the movie’s longevity in Black American culture and abroad.

“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,” Murphy says to writer and longtime west coast editor Regina R. Robertson.

He continues: “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,” says Murphy. ” 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 fairy tales 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.”

[From Essence]

I have loved Eddie for like ever and I am loving seeing him and Arsenio Hall bring Coming to America 2 to life. I feel it is something that we need right now. The last year has been so traumatic for many if not all of us. It should do all of our hearts some good. Especially if it brings laughter and nostalgia in a way that builds on the magic it created instead of trying to recreate that.

I agree with Eddie that it would be a tragedy if Coming to America was tainted by a badly written and executed sequel. I also agree with him when he said that the film was the black equivalent of a fairytale and that everyone regardless of race or ethnicity can enjoy it. Coming to America is a classic right up there with Harlem Nights, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I am looking forward to seeing some of the actresses from the original movie like Shari Headley and Vanessa Bell Calloway. I am also excited about seeing what the hell Teyana Taylor and Wesley Snipes are doing because the trailer had me laughing hard. Anyways, the first week of March is going to be lit. I get The Flash AND Coming To America 2. A girl can’t ask for anything more.

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26 Responses to “Eddie Murphy: I didn’t want to do a bad sequel to a movie people grew up watching”

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  1. Faithmobile says:

    I can’t count how many times I’ve seen Coming to America. Definitely a seminal comedy from youth. March is looking so good right now. Super stoked to see Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan in this!

    • Julie says:

      Interesting. Those two are one of the reasons I’m apprehensive about this. I find both Leslie and Tracy painfully tryhard and unfunny. I read somewhere that Donald Glover had once offered to write a sequel but was turned down….I’ll be going in with that thwarted promise in mode.

      • Vavavoom says:

        I agree, Julie. I hope Leslie and Tracy don’t take away from the ‘ensemble’ feeling. While I think they are both funny in their own right, when they are there, they are all you can focus on. Eddie and Arsenio were magicians in this movie.. when it came to working with a team. A master class, if you will.
        I watched this movie, Trading Places and all of Eddie’s standup religiously. We used to recite all of the best lines. So excited to see them again!!

    • My brother and I must have watched it hundreds of times, as kids.

  2. Bibi says:

    Eddie is absolutely right. The orginal was not about race, and it didn’t feel like we were missing a subject. It was great. His comment reminds me of bridgerton which is also not about race despite its people of color cast

  3. Jillian says:

    Coming to America is one of my all time favorites and, even if the sequel isn’t great, I’m going to love it. And then Eddie included Tracey Morgan, Leslie Jones, and Wesley Snipes – HOW COULD THIS MOVIE NOT BE FUNNY? Jesus, I basically start screaming and jumping up and down whenever I think about it, cannot wait for the 5th

  4. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I love this movie so much and I come across it on tv, I just stop and watch. I’m excited about the sequel!

  5. Sayrah says:

    I’m so here for this. It’s a running joke with our friends that I do the lines from the first one all the time.

  6. TQ says:

    I am so here for it! Grew up on this!

  7. Snappyfish says:

    Loved the original movie. A little concerned about the premise of this one but excited to see how it all turns out & I better see sexual chocolate!!

  8. Jess says:

    I have always loved this movie and cannot wait for the sequel!

  9. Cee says:

    I remember watching this film with my parents over and over and over.
    This was in the 90s in Argentina so yeah, this film was, and still is, a huge deal abroad.

    I am so excited and I sincerely hope it lives up to the first film.

    • Bishg says:

      As an Italian woman growing up with this movie, I relate so much to this!! Coming to America was one of my very favorite, I had the vhs, taped from tv, and watched it over and over. Can’t wait for the sequel!

  10. Watson says:

    Here for this! Loved this movie! Hope Paula Abdul can choreo a kick ass dance scene again

  11. Lala11_7 says:

    This pic got the pub it got cause it was a Black film highlighting Black culture….and yes it was a fairytale…but I gotta be honest…the tone of this his interview reminded me of some sh– Bill Cosby would say back in the day….

    The mofo irony😛🤬🤣

  12. manda says:

    Very happy to see that Lisa is in the movie because for some reason, sequels often have spouses/girlfriends/love interests missing or replaced. There really is something about 80s movies.

  13. Renee says:

    I LOVED Coming to America so I am excited to see this. Will Randy Watson sing “I believe the children are our future” or a new song…LOL? Will John Amos’ McDowell’s be a part of it? GAWD I cannot wait!

  14. Tilewa says:

    How is Eddie Murphy still looking so good?

    • BeanieBean says:

      Right? Neither he nor Arsenio seem to have aged a bit! That trailer made me laugh & I am sooo looking forward to watching this. I think I’ll have to watch the original again today. The barber shop scene alone is worth the price of admission (a now out of date term, I see).

      • elle says:

        I seriously wondered if the sequel came out years ago and I’d somehow missed it, looking at both of them.

  15. Petra says:

    I’m always in the mood for Coming to American, Crooklyn and Moonlight.

  16. Wilma says:

    I am so excited for this. This was one of my absolute favorites growing up and still is. It holds up really well. I have high hopes for the sequel!

  17. Anna says:

    I remember watching this film when I first came to America from West Africa. It was hilarious to see this kind of romantic comedy parody of a supposed African coming to America through the eyes of African-Americans. It’s a classic and we loved it. A lot of the details were actually really well done with regard to cross-cultural experiences. Of course over the top but that’s the beauty of it. We’ll have to see about the sequel. I’m just not sure the zeitgeist of the moment that made the original so great can be captured again. But I’m still excited for it and have high hopes. :)

    • Oya says:

      I love this! I always wondered how continental Africans viewed Coming to America. So happy to hear they understood it was more of a parody and rang a bit true. Here’s to an amazing sequel.

  18. Just A Thought says:

    I hope the sequel is good as the original. I will watch Coming to America 2.

  19. Ann says:

    I’m looking forward to it! I did like the movie and have seen it a few times, though I wouldn’t say it’s one of my all time favorites. The barber shop scene looks like gold. I like Leslie Jones so I’m glad she’s in it, hope they fit her in well. Agree that they’ve both aged well, especially Eddie, wow.