Coming 2 America includes nearly 50 pop-culture Easter eggs, so when do they appear and why? Eddie Murphy reprises his role in the 2021 movie, along with multiple performers from the 1988 franchise-starter, Coming to America. The sequel includes several references to mainstream movies, though most of them are direct callbacks to the original film.
Directed by Craig Brewer, Coming 2 America has polarized critics and casual streamers since releasing in March 2021. The screenwriters mostly retain the thematic structure of the first franchise installment, but also make sure to update the dialogue for a story about familial loyalty and female agency. There’s plenty to enjoy, even if the collective jokes are more about nostalgia than innovative comedy.
In Coming 2 America, Prince Akeem (Murphy) returns to the United States after learning that he fathered a son before meeting his wife, Lisa (Shari Headley). The king’s eldest daughter Meeka (KiKi Layne) is fully qualified to become the queen of Zamunda, however, the rightful heir is technically a Queens native named Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler). When the prince-to-be is located in New York City and then trained in Africa, Brewer’s film settles into a groove by steadily referencing standout moments from the first film. Here’s every Easter egg and movie reference in the highly-anticipated 2021 movie Coming 2 America.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Coming 2 America begins with an overhead shot of Zamunda and a musical nod to the original film. In Coming to America, “Mbube (Wimoweh)” by Ladysmith Black Mambazo opens the film, while the sequel kicks off with a different version of Solomon Linda’s 1939 production. In pop culture, the song is best known as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
The Rose Bearer
Garcelle Beauvais reprises her original franchise role as a royal rose bearer in Coming 2 America. In both movies, she appears during the opening minutes. Beauvais is best known for portraying Doris Toomes in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The Bedroom Exit
During Prince Akeem’s introduction in Coming to America, he leaves his bedroom with three rose bearers. In the 2021 sequel, it’s Prince Akeem’s three kids who leave a bedroom. Murphy’s real-life daughter, Bella Murphy, portrays the middle child, Princess Omma Joffer.
It IS My Birthday | It IS Our Anniversary
In Coming 2 America, King Akeem and Queen Lisa wake up and receive anniversary blessings from their three daughters. Murphy’s character states “It IS our anniversary!” – a callback to the line “It IS my birthday!” in Coming to America. The original 1988 film ends with Prince Akeem and Lisa getting married in Africa.
In Coming to America, Prince Akeem lands a job at the restaurant chain McDowell’s, which is owned by Lisa’s father, Clay (John Amos). Coming 2 America reveals that the franchise has now extended to Africa. For the sequel, Amos reprises his role, along with Louie Anderson as Maurice.
A Stick Fight
Coming to America’s first act includes a stick fight between Prince Akeem and Semmi. In the sequel, Murphy’s character trains with his three daughters. The scene highlights the skills of Princess Meeka Joffer, who wants to be Queen but technically can’t because of Zamunda traditions.
The Lion King
The leader of Nexdoria, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), receives a grand introduction in Coming 2 America. He’s identified as “the tamer of elephants” and “the most well-endowed man in Africa” by Michael Blackson’s character, and also “the inspiration for Mufasa.” The moment references the 1994 movie The Lion King, in which Coming to America actor James Earl Jones voices Mufasa, the father of Simba.
Imani Izzi Callback
Before leaving for New York in Coming to America, Prince Akeem abandons his barking bride-to-be, Imani Izzi (Vanessa Bell). In the sequel, she’s revealed to be General Izzi’s sister, who still barks like a dog three decades later. Bell is best known for portraying Carol Fisher in Shameless.
King Jaffe urges his son to “sow his royal oats” in Coming to America. In the sequel, Murphy’s character denies that he has a son in the United States and uses the same “royal oats” phrase. Once again, Coming 2 America stays true to the original film’s narrative structure.
The Perfect Woman
Coming 2 America reveals that Prince Akeem inadvertently had sex with a Queens woman while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The sequel recreates a club scene to introduce Leslie Jones’ character, Mary, who is revealed to be the mother of Lavelle Junson, the rightful heir to the throne. The reveal works as the inciting incident for Coming 2 America’s premise.
Coming 2 America’s sex scene between Mary and Akeem is accompanied by “Soul Gro” by Stokely. In the original 1988 film, the fictional company Soul Glo is repeatedly referenced. Lisa’s boyfriend Darryl Jenks (Eriq La Salle) uses the product in Coming to America, but he doesn’t appear in the sequel.
What A Man | What A King
At King Jaffe’s funeral in Coming 2 America, the music groups Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue perform a song called “What a King.” In real life, the performers collaborated for the 1993 hit “What a Man.” Coming 2 America reveals that Queen Lisa has a weak spot for ’80s and ’90s American music, presumably because it reminds her of home.
A Midnight Train
In Coming 2 America, the funeral sequence also includes an appearance from R&B legend Gladys Knight. She landed a #1 hit in 1973 with “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and performs a variation in the 2021 sequel. The sequence aligns with the death of King Jaffe, who is alive at the beginning of his own funeral.
When Lavelle is introduced in Coming 2 America, he’s ready to stop scalping basketball tickets and wants to pursue a regular job. His uncle Reem (Tracey Morgan) attempts to calm him and refers to his nephew as “young Jedi.” Of course, this is a reference to the Star Wars franchise.
After Uncle Reem’s introduction in Coming 2 America, Lavelle lands an interview with Calvin Duke (Colin Jost). The Duke & Duke employee references his grandfather and grand-uncle, who are characters in the 1983 Eddie Murphy film Trading Places. Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche) reprised their characters in Coming to America.
In Coming 2 America, Lavelle accuses Calvin Duke of being a racist and cites a blackface photo as evidence. In response, Jost’s character explains that he was supposed to be “Will Smith’s Aladdin.” He’s referring to the 2019 movie Aladdin, in which Smith plays not the title character but rather a blue genie.
Coming 2 America’s barbershop sequences include characters from the original film. Murphy reprises his roles as Mr. Clarence and Saul, Hall portrays Morris, and Clint Smith appears once again as Sweets. In the 2021 movie, the My-T-Sharp sequences reveal that Akeem’s old neighborhood hasn’t been entirely gentrified.
In Coming to America, an elderly Jewish man named Saul refers to Akeem as Kunta Kinte – the protagonist in the 1977 miniseries Roots. The same joke is made in Coming 2 America, although Saul also refers to Semmi as “Ebola” – a reference to the Ebola virus. When Coming to America released in 1988, many audiences were shocked to learn that Saul is portrayed by none other than Murphy.
Mr. Clarence refers to King Akeem as “Idiot Amin” during the first barbershop sequence in Coming 2 America. It’s a reference to Idi Amin, the former ruthless and corrupt president of Uganda during the ’70s. Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for his portrayal of Amin in the 2006 movie The Last King of Scotland.
Bedazzled Mets Jacket
In Coming to America, Prince Akeem wears a New York Mets jacket that’s covered in New York-themed buttons. The character wears the same jacket in the sequel when he confronts his son Lavelle outside Madison Square Garden. The New York Mets are based in Queens, New York.
When King Akeem reunites with Mary, her brother Reem isn’t thrilled about Lavelle having a new father figure. He references the native home of Murphy’s character, Zamunda, and also includes a brief reference to “Wakanda” – the fictional setting of the 2018 movie Black Panther. Coming 2 America includes a fictional African country called Nexdoria, which is play on the words for a region that’s figuratively next door to Zamunda.
King Akeem’s Zamunda mansion in Coming 2 America is actually the real-life home of musician Rick Ross. The six-time Grammy nominee appears briefly in the sequel, portraying one of General Izzi’s military men (above left). Between 2006 and 2014, five of Ross’ six studio albums reached #1 on the U.S. charts.