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Coming To America vs. Coming 2 America: 17 Side-By-Side Comparisons

Coming 2 America finally hit Amazon Prime Video across the world on 4th March. It is already a hit and a sensation. The prequel ‘Coming to America‘ was released in 1988, about 33 years ago. The vast time gap did result in a lot of changes and new additions to the cast in the second one. Prince Akeem’s mother from the first movie, played by Madge Sinclair, passed away in 1995. Few members of the new cast like Kiki Layne (Meeka), Teyana Taylor (Bopoto Izzi), and Nomzamo Mbatha (Mirembe) were not born when the first film released.
However, a few memorable scenes from three decades ago were retained. Here, we will closely observe 17 side-by-side comparisons of scenes from both films. Spoiler Alert!

1. Prince Akeem and King Akeem: Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy‘s stellar performance as Akeem, Crown Prince of Zamunda, in the rom-com prequel earned him laurels worldwide. Further, his portrayal of a dutiful son & ruler in contrast with a man in love won over the fans.

Prince Akeem Swag | Eddie murphy, Best romantic comedies, Eddie murphy  movies
Prince Akeem 1988

In the same vein, Murphy is back in the role of Prince Akeem, later crowned King after his father’s death. He embarks on a journey to find his illegitimate son and appoint him as heir, sidelining his able daughters. However, he realizes his mistakes in the end. As a result, he strives to make hard but necessary changes.

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King Akeem 2021

2. Lisa McDowell and Queen Lisa Joffer: Shari Headley

Shari Headley portrayed the rebellious Lisa McDowell in the prequel. She is a person with realistic ideals and falls in love with a stranger Akeem, not knowing his social position. Her father Cleo doesn’t approve of their relationship initially. A huge relationship drama follows ending with the revelation of Akeem’s true identity. As a result, Lisa is heart-broken but won over by the depth of Akeem’s love.

Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley). Coming to America (1988) | Black natural  hairstyles, Hair beret, Shari headley
Lisa McDowell 1988

Queen Lisa Joffer upholds Zamunda’s customs and ideals like the perfect regent. But when her able daughter is cast away for the choice of Queen just for her gender, she doesn’t hesitate to kick out Akeem off their quarters. To sum it up, she is the embodiment of a strong woman of the 21st century.

Coming 2 America New Cast, Returning Characters & Cameos Guide
Queen Lisa Joffer 2021

3. Semmi: Arsenio Hall Side-by-Side Comparisons

Hall’s comic relief Semmi was Akeem’s constant confidante and best friend from the prequel. For instance, he accompanied Akeem when he fled his marriage in Zamunda. He even worked at Cleo’s McDowell’s restaurant undercover with Akeem.

Dom Perignon Champagne Enjoyed By Arsenio Hall As Semmi In Coming To  America (1988), Side-by-Side Comparisons
Semmi 1988

The new Semmi still has the light-hearted fooling chemistry with Akeem. However, he transforms into a calculating advisor and fighter in the time of need.

Side-by-Side Comparison of old and new Semmis
Semmi 2021

4. King Jaffe Joffer: James Earl Jones Transition

The Zamundan patriarch was the main antagonist in the 1988 film. Jaffe had imposed a forced marriage on Akeem as per the age-old customs. As a result, Akeem ran away and the events of the film took place. In the end, his wife Aoleon asked him to hold his son’s happiness over morbid rules.

The Best Fits From 'Coming To America,' as Described by the Film's Costume  Designer Deborah Landis | Coming to america costume, King costume, America  party
King Jaffe Joffer 1988

King Jaffe’s new appearance, in side-by-side comparisons, would seem inclusive of a more comic flair. Again, he sets the wheels into motion by informing Akeem of his bastard son Lavelle and sending him on the quest for an heir. His death, however, did leave a void in the audiences’ mind.

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King Jaffe Joffer 2021

5. Cleo McDowell: John Amos Side-by-Side Comparisons

In the prequel, Cleo was the typical father who hated his daughter’s love interest. As a result, he was tough on Akeem when he became an employee at McDowell’s (McDonald Knockoff). However, he ended up liking the strong spine Akeem displayed for his daughter’s love.

Fan Casting Keith David as Cleo McDowell in Coming to America on myCast
Cleo McDowell 1988

Cleo is the guiding advisor in the new movie. He is silent mostly but pulls off a touching scene with a shunned, bereaved Akeem.

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Cleo McDowell 2021

6. Imani Izzi: Vanessa Bell Calloway’s Mad Girl

General Izzi’s sister Imani was the comic relief in the 1988 film. Akeem ordered her to bark while hopping on a leg.

Coming 2 America' Adds Original Star Vanessa Bell Calloway
Imani Izzi 1988

Observing a side-by-side comparison, Imani Izzi hasn’t changed much. In a similar vein, she continues her antics. But in the end, she finally seems to have found a prospective suitor. She accidentally barks and scares him off too.

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Imani Izzi 2021

7. Maurice: Louie Anderson

He was a worker at McDowell’s Restaurant alongside Akeem and Semmi in the first film.

And That's When the Big Bucks Start Rolling In | Know Your Meme
Maurice 1988

On the other hand, in the new release, Maurice got his own comic sketch: trying out Princess Omma’s Grass Burger to reduce Carbon footprint. He washes it down with Pepsi, the official drink of the Zamundan McDowell’s.

Side-by-Side Comparisons between old and new Maurice
Maurice 2021

8. Fresh Peaches & Sugar Cube: Played by Janette Rosillo and Vanessa Rodriguez

The rapper twins are probably among the most underrated hilarious characters in the films.

My Name is Peaches - Coming to America - YouTube
The Twins 1988

If side-by-side comparisons are considered, not much has changed about the pair. They were specially invited by the producers for the cameo. Even their iconic verse:
“My Name is Peaches and I’m the best, all the DJs love to feel my breasts.”…still draws laughs.

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The Twins 2021

9. Oha: Paul Bates Side-by-Side Comparisons

Oha is the loyal manservant to the Zamunda royals. He led the staff in the daily activities and ensured the smooth functioning of the household.

The Cast Of 'Coming 2 America' Then And Now - Essence
Oha 1988

In the new release, Oha leading the Akeem and Lisa’s wake-up call is a shoutout to the old film.

Coming 2 America New Cast, Returning Characters & Cameos Guide Side-by-Side Comparisons
Oha 2021

10. The Rose-Bearer Priestess: Garcelle Beauvais

Coming to America_Feather, Stephanie Simon, Garcelle Beauvais_full rose |  America girl, African wedding, America theme
Rose-Bearer 1988

Garcelle played the Royal Rose-Bearer to Crown-Prince Akeem. The audience loved the familiar face in the sequel movie.

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Rose-Bearer 2021

11. Sweets and Saul: Clint Smith & Eddie Murphy

The chess player duo from My T Sharp drew a lot of laughs with their snark and snide remarks.

Daily Dialogue — February 27, 2019 | by Scott Myers | Go Into The Story
Sweets and Saul 1988

Fans found it heartwarming to see the bickering duo back on screen.

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Saul 2021

12. Morris and Clarence: Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy Side-by-Side Comparisons

The loud Jewish barber and his disabled horny friend were both brilliant inclusions to the screenplay.

Morris and Clarence Side-by-side comparisons old and new
Morris and Clarence: Old & New

With only an increase in age, the pair have maintained their chemistry successfully.

13. Randy Watson, Sexual Chocolate: Eddie Murphy

Murphy successfully pulled off the odd vulgar singer cameo in the speed-dating session in the first film.

Coming to America(1988) - Randy Watson And The Sexual Chocolate - YouTube
Randy Watson 1988

Likewise, as per Side-by-side comparisons, Randy Watson is just the same when he performs at Lavelle’s wedding.

Coming 2 America' Ending Explained: Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate Return  - Thrillist
Randy Watson 2021

14. Reverend Brown: Arsenio Hall Side-by-Side Comparisons

The ultra ugly, greedy, yet oddly sweet Reverend appeared as a preacher in the Miss Black Awareness Pageant.

Coming To America Rev Brown Impression - YouTube
Reverend Brown 1988

Again, the Reverend makes an entrance to marry Lavelle and Mirembe at the Church of the Holy Jubilation.

17 Coming 2 America Cast Side-By-Sides
Reverend Brown 2021

The audience hasn’t only found similarities in the characters. A few key scenes have been recreated as well:-

15. Akeem & Semmi after Arriving in America

Coming To America:

Prince Akeem and Semmi are Coming 2 America!!! - DRENCHED IN BLACK
The Duo Arrive in America

Coming 2 America:

Coming 2 America Super Bowl Trailer Expected
Akeem and Semi in Queens

16. Oha Bursts into Song: Side-by-Side Comparisons of the Scenes


Queen To Be GIF - Coming To America - Discover & Share GIFs
Oha Singing at Akeem’s Wedding


The Truth About That Musical Number In Coming 2 America - Exclusive
Oha Singing at Lavelle’s Wedding

17. Akeem and Lisa: Evergreen

First Film:

Eddie Murphy Compares Coming To America 2's Zamunda To Black Panther's  Wakanda - CINEMABLEND
Akeem and Lisa Getting Hitched

New Release:

How JJ Valaya collaborated with Ruth Carter for 18 costumes in 'Coming 2  America' | Vogue India
He won her over Again

Coming To America was a grand success. Coming 2 America has had an excellent opening. Watch it and let us know what you loved.