More than 32 years after Coming to America was released, we’re set to get the long-awaited sequel — and director Craig Brewer says it couldn’t come at a better time for the country.

After teaming with Eddie Murphy on the upcoming Dolemite Is My Name, which will premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, Brewer is reuniting with the legendary comedian for Coming 2 America, which will find Akeem (Murphy) and Semmi (Arsenio Hall) returning to America when the African nation of Zamunda’s soon-to-be King Akeem learns that he has a long-lost son in Queens.

“Every day we realize the legacy that we are playing with,” Brewer tells EW. “It is both a joy and incredibly daunting. There’s this moment that I always go back to: when we were screening Dolemite Is My Name, I worked on Empire a little bit, so I had some of the writers come and take a look at the movie. They were all in the back row of the screening room, and Eddie and Arsenio walked in and sat down in the second row, just like old friends do. And I could see everybody in the back’s eyes getting big and pointing down to both of them. In that moment of seeing Eddie and Arsenio sitting next to each other as friends, but also seeing the younger generation pointing at them and smiling, I remember saying to myself, ‘Yeah, I guess we need them right now, don’t we?’ I don’t want to sound too outrageous, but I think America needs Akeem and Semmi right now. [Laughs] I hope you know that’s sincere from me, that’s how I feel. We need them.”

COMING TO AMERICA, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, 1988
Credit: Everett Collection

But, after working on Dolemite Is My Name, there was someone else who Brewer knew he needed: Wesley Snipes. The Blade star reminded the director of his comedy credentials with his turn in Dolemite, leading him to cast Snipes in Coming 2 America, joining Murphy, Hall, James Earl Jones, Paul Bates, Rick Ross, Kiki Layne, and Leslie Jones. For Brewer, matching Murphy and Snipes became “a dream come true.”

“If you would have told me 10 years ago that Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes is comedy gold together, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Brewer admitted to EW. “But, now seeing them share a frame together, I can’t unsee it, I can’t unfeel it. It’s amazing, it’s electric, and it’s something I’ve always wanted but just didn’t know it [laughs].”

Coming 2 America opens in theaters on Dec. 18, 2020.

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