I was expecting WAY more streaming service advertisements during the Super Bowl. We’re all still stuck at home and movies aren’t coming out any time soon, so I thought the streamers would go all-in on advertising their wares for post-game viewing (or mid-game viewing if you gave up early). But no, except for the network quid pro quo of CBS advertising Paramount+ (both owned by Viacom), there was remarkably little from the streaming services. Netflix sat it out entirely, Disney showed actual restraint, and Amazon Prime offered only a glimpse at Coming 2 America. I’m already sold on this movie, but I am super into the idea of Zamunda and Wakanda co-existing in a fictional universe.
During the TV spot, Leslie Jones’s character makes a reference to Wakanda, and Akeem says, “Wakanda is a fictional place.” Right away we establish that the MCU exists in the world of Coming 2 America, which itself raises many questions. Does Zamunda run tourism campaigns as the “real” Wakanda? They should! Because, and this is the fascinating point, Zamunda is, like Wakanda, an African nation untouched by colonialism. But this is not to say that Zamunda is, like Wakanda, meant to be a utopian African society. The two fictional countries might be monarchies, but where Wakanda took its cues from how modern monarchy has evolved in real African nations like Lesotho and reimagined it with zero colonialist influence, Zamunda looks more like a European monarchy on screen. The difference is undoubtedly down to different narrative goals—Coming to America merely wanted to establish a Black royal family to an audience mostly familiar with the British royal family, while Black Panther specifically wanted to show an African nation free of imperialism’s scars. I don’t think Coming to America was, back in 1988, concerned with the same socio-political issues brought to Black Panther in 2018.
But it does make me wonder, in a post-Black Panther world, if Zamunda will be approached any differently? There is no mandate to “fix” Zamunda, but since the world embraced Wakanda, one wonders if perhaps Eddie Murphy et al felt any pressure to tweak their idea of Zamunda, to perhaps consider it a little more carefully. Coming 2 America does not suddenly have to become a socio-political film about the international relations of an uncolonized African nation, but it would be neat to have a competing idea of a non-imperialized African nation that goes beyond “this guy is a prince”. It does look like Coming 2 America will take place more in Zamunda than Coming to America, so perhaps this is exactly what we will get. Or maybe it will just be a bunch of lion jokes. It will probably just be that.