There was excitement on Twitter on Wednesday night after Eddie Murphy’s official Twitter handle posted an image of actress Vanessa Bell Calloway in character as Princess Imani Izzi from Murphy’s 1988 hit comedy, Coming to America.
The image was tantalizingly captioned, “Coming to America sequel?”
The tweet sparked excitement because it was unusual. Murphy’s Twitter account hasn’t been very active lately, with most activity being limited to retweets of endorsements of Murphy’s latest film, Mr Church, as Complex pointed out.
But as the tweet began generating excited chatter on social media, it was taken down along with the entire Eddie Murphy official Twitter account. But many social media users who saw the tweet had taken screenshots that were shared widely across social media platforms.
The disappearance of Murphy’s official Twitter account sparked speculation that the teasing message might have been posted by someone who hacked the account. But TMZ claimed that it confirmed from sources that Murphy was really in the early stages of the project for a sequel to the 1988 blockbuster.
The information from TMZ led to further speculation that the Twitter account might have been taken down after someone leaked the information prematurely. Others began speculating about which of the original cast members would return in the rumored sequel.
TMZ reported that a decision on the cast for “Coming To America 2” had not been made because the plot of the film was still in the very early stages of development, and Murphy was still writing and tinkering with it.
There was also speculation on Twitter about who might have tweeted the message that caused Eddie Murphy’s Twitter account to be taken down.
TMZ reported that a source revealed that Murphy does not tweet, so it was unlikely that he tweeted the message. The source revealed, however, that Murphy keeps a social media team that tweets for him. This led to the suggestion that a member of the team might have let the cat out of the bag earlier than Murphy wished.
According to TMZ, there had been a plan to tweet a message hinting that a sequel to Coming To America was in the works, but someone jumped the gun and posted the message too early.
Regardless of the truth about the tweet, it caught thousands of fans and several members of the original cast by surprise and generated interest, with stars such as actress Holly Robinson Peete and former NFL star Shawne Merriman contributing to the resulting chatter on Twitter.
It was clear from the reactions that there was plenty of nostalgia among fans for the 1988 film and that many would love to see a sequel.
Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway, 59, who played the role of Princess Imani in the original film nearly 30 years ago, also expressed doubts about the tweet, saying that Murphy’s account might have been hacked. But she said she hoped it was genuine. She told TMZ that she was ready to play a part in any sequel.
“I would love to do a sequel,” Calloway told TMZ. “It would be a perfect sequel. The movie was iconic. It’s the gift that keeps giving. People stop me still on a regular basis, and ask me about Princess Imani.”
“What I’m hoping they will do is get some directors, producers [and] studios interested, and realize that they really do need to talk about a sequel. They’re doing sequels of all kinds of movies, why not this?” she added.
Calloway co-starred in the film with others, such as James Earl Jones, who played King Jaffe Joffer (Prince Akeem’s father), Arsenio Hall (Akeem’s pal, Semmi), Eriq La Salle, John Amos, and Frankie Faison.
Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America (1988) was about an African prince, Akeem (Murphy), who rejected efforts by his royal parents to arrange a marriage for him with the stunningly beautiful Princess Imani Izzi, played by Vanessa Bell Calloway. He then traveled to New York with his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to find true love.
The film was an instant hit when it was released in June 1988. It was the third-highest grossing film in the U.S. in 1988, and grossed more than $288 million worldwide. It won two Oscars, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup.
Murphy played several roles in the film, including the voluble and irreverent character Saul, a regular at a barbershop.
One of his most memorable quips was in relation to the boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali in the 1960s.
Expressing his opinion about the re-christening, Saul said, “His mama name him Clay, Imma call him Clay.”
[Featured Image by Tinseltown/Shutterstock]