Here’s a Hollywood “what if” for you: What if Ryan Coogler had directed the Coming to America sequel? It could have happened, Eddie Murphy revealed in an interview ahead of the Amazon Prime Video release of the long-awaited Coming 2 America. The Black Panther director — long before he helmed the Marvel phenomenon — had approached Murphy with a pitch for a Coming to America sequel. And while Coogler’s pitch didn’t interest Murphy, it did help get the ball rolling on what would eventually become Coming 2 America.

In a recent New York Times interview alongside Arsenio Hall, Murphy admitted that while fans had long demanded a sequel to his 1988 comedy classic Coming to America, “We never thought about doing a sequel. The way the story ended was kind of like, ‘And they lived happily ever after.'”

And that would have been that. Coming to America would have remained the beloved comedy that it had always been, with no sequel on the horizon, with Murphy not giving it a second thought. But it wasn’t until a rising Black director approached him with the idea for a sequel that Murphy realized that the film had reached iconic status over the years. Murphy recalled:

“Then Ryan Coogler, before he directed Black Panther, I meet with him and he says, I want to do a Coming to America sequel. He had an idea for Michael B. Jordan to play my son and he would be looking for a wife. I was like, then the movie would be about the son, it’s not our characters, we already did that. It didn’t come together.”

It is curious what Coogler’s version would have looked like, though admittedly the idea of retreading the plot of Coming to America with his muse Michael B. Jordan would have probably felt a little tired. But considering what Coogler did with Creed, a continuation of the Rocky movies featuring Jordan as Apollo Creed’s son Adonis Johnson, the Black Panther director might have been able to breathe new, urgent life into Coming to America. But, fate would have it that Coogler would go on to helm Black Panther, and well, the rest is history.

However, Coogler’s pitch wasn’t all for naught. The director’s pitch to Murphy indirectly got the ball rolling on what would eventually become Coming 2 America, especially after Murphy saw the use of de-aging technology on Arnold Schwarzenegger in the recent Terminator movies. That sparked the idea of adding a scene into the sequel which would take place during the events of the original Coming to America, where Akeem and Semmi (Hall) have a wild night at the club. “I go home with a girl and I’m high — that was the piece we needed to start the flow,” concluded Murphy.

Craig Brewer directs Coming 2 America, which also stars Jermaine Fowler as Murphy’s son, and it hits Amazon Prime Video on March 5, 2021.

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