A few months back we got word of some rumors regarding possible forward motion for Coming To America 2. Because there weren't any firm details, it was news that was fairly easy to ignore - but evidently the project isn't going away. In fact, it's actually just picked up two essential pieces of the larger puzzle as Jonathan Levine has been tapped to direct the sequel, and Kenya Barris will be handling the screenplay.
This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter, which adds that Barris will be reworking a script penned by Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield - the writers of the 1988 original Coming To America. The project is still very much in early stages, and while there apparently isn't an official deal on the table just yet, it is expected that Eddie Murphy will star in the comedy and reprise his role as Prince Akeem. There's no word yet if we can expect the return of Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos as well.
In the original Coming To America, Eddie Murphy starred as a young African prince who has become dissatisfied with being rich and powerful, and wants to find a wife who will appreciate him as a normal person. In order to accomplish this mission, he travels across the Atlantic and decides to live in squalor in Queens, New York. He winds up finding that love in Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley), and despite clashing families and romantic competition, they wind up living together happily ever after. Or at least that's what we think - Coming To America 2 could wind up totally changing that particular narrative.
For his part, Kenya Barris doesn't have a ton of experience in the film realm - having spent most of his career working on/creating shows like Black-ish, America's Next Top Model, and The Game - but he has had success in the medium all the same. In 2016 he wrote the script for the shockingly good sequel Barbershop: The Next Cut, and this summer reunited with director Malcolm D Lee to write the hit comedy Girls Trip.
Jonathan Levine hasn't had quite the level of success that Kenya Barris has had in 2017, as Snatched didn't do so hot when it was released in May, but that definitely doesn't undermine him as an extremely talented filmmaker. Some of his best features include 50/50, Warm Bodies, The Night Before, and The Wackness, and Coming To America 2 will be his first venture into sequel territory. He has some big shoes to fill given that the original was directed by John Landis, but we have high hopes for his success.
Coming To America 2 doesn't have a release date, so we'll have to wait and see how fast it winds up going through the development process.