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The Ending Of Coming 2 America Explained

While Black Panther captured audience imaginations with the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda, Coming to America (starring Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem) had a 30-year head start on that idea with its own fake nation of Zamunda. Of course, that movie barely scratches the surface of the country, and viewers who wanted to explore Zamunda more would have to wait three decades for Coming 2 America.

In Coming 2 America, the script is flipped, yet history can't stop repeating itself. This time, the plot revolves around Prince Akeem's illegitimate child, Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), who is the son of clubgoer Mary Junson (Leslie Jones). You don't remember Akeem's one-night stand with Mary in the first movie? Well, neither does he because it was retconned into existence.

While some reviews claim Coming 2 America is uncomfortably close to a retread, the film still brings twists and themes to the table that might fly over your head because you're too busy laughing. If that's the case, look no further for an explanation of the movie's ending.

Like father, like son

In Coming to America, Prince Akeem visits America because he doesn't believe in the Zamundan tradition of arranged marriages and would rather marry a woman who actually loves him. And yet despite initially disobeying the wishes of his father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), Akeem has turned into his father in Coming 2 America since he follows Zamundan law. And, Akeem returns to America to retrieve Lavelle Junson and make him a prince.

Even though Lavelle was raised by his mother Mary Junson, he is every bit his father's son — rebellious and uncompromising. But unlike Akeem, who voluntarily abandoned his princely ways to seek true love, Lavelle has no idea how to act like one. Don't worry, Coming 2 America doesn't go the Princess Diaries route. Even though Lavelle is groomed to be a new prince by Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha) and Princess Meeka (Kiki Layne), no amount of coaching can undo years of New Yorker independence, let alone the rebellious streak Lavelle inherited from his father. Instead of marrying his arranged wife, Lavelle decides to marry Mirembe.

Lavelle's actions remind Akeem that true love trumps tradition, just like how Akeem convinced his father of the same. Apparently, defiance of tradition is a tradition unto itself in Zamunda.

Long live the queen

In Coming to America, Prince Akeem wants to wed a woman just as independent as he is. He ends up marrying Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley), and each of their three daughters is as independent as Akeem and Lisa combined. Of course, in Zamunda, individualism only gets you so far if you're a woman.

While Akeem's eldest daughter, Princess Meeka, is more than capable of ruling Zamunda when Akeem dies, Akeem finds himself repeating his father's decisions, such as following tradition and requiring a man on the throne. Without a male heir, Akeem is initially forced to marry Meeka to the rival nation Nextdoria's Prince Idi. But, Lavelle gives Akeem an out since, while illegitimate, Lavelle is still male and has a greater claim to the Zamundan throne. While Meeka hates how Zamundan accession law works, blood is thicker than half-sibling rivalry, so she helps Lavelle pass the tests necessary to be crowned prince, as well as prepare to marry Idi's sister, Princess Bopoto. But when Lavelle runs off with Mirembe, Nextdoria's leader, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), tries to take Zamunda by force. His 30-minute invasion is swiftly defeated by Akeem's three daughters, Meeka included.

As Lavelle convinces Akeem to abandon the Zamundan tradition of arranged marriages, Meeka likewise convinces Akeem to abandon Zamundan ascendency traditions. Like half-brother, like half-sister.

Zamunda: a country catching up with the times

Throughout Coming to America and Coming 2 America, Zamunda is portrayed as a very conservative, traditionalist country. However, the movies are about the advantages of questioning traditions when they get in the way of love and well-being, not the dangers of conservatism.

In the first movie, Prince Akeem travels to America because he wants to defy tradition and marry a woman who loves him instead of General Izzi's sister Imani (she was trained from birth to serve Akeem). In Coming 2 America, had Akeem followed tradition and married Princess Meeka to Prince Idi, he would have given the militaristic General Izzi a back door to Zamunda. Even if Akeem had married Lavelle to Princess Bopoto, that still would have given Nextdoria a foot in Zamunda's door. In the end, Akeem defying tradition serves Zamunda's best interests.

Likewise, since royal life doesn't suit Lavelle, Zamunda needs a ruler to take over when Akeem dies, so Akeem changes Zamundan law and allows women to ascend to the throne solo. Again, this serves Zamunda because the movie demonstrates that Meeka is a far more competent leader than Lavelle. She even convinces General Izzi to abandon Nextdoria militarism and become more peaceful and diplomatic — ironically via the Nextdoria tradition of an ass whuppin'.

If there is ever a Coming to America 3, the movie might explore Zamunda in the new, progressive age.