Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America is one of the funniest, most important black comedies of the past 30 years, and if I’m not mistaken, Christopher Priest just worked a clever shout-out to the movie in Marvel’s Inhumans: Once and Future Kings. This one’s for Zamunda.
Image: Paramount Pictures
Coming To America tells the story of Prince Hakeem, next in line to become Zamunda’s king after the title is passed down from his father, who’s eager for his young son to find a bride to become his future queen. While Hakeem’s open to the idea of marriage, he initially balks when he meets Imani Izzi, the woman his parents have arranged for him to marry. While Imani’s nice enough, Hakeem finds that he and she have nothing in common because she was raised from a very young age to agree to whatever he asks of her.
Wondering just how far Imani will go to please him, Hakeem asks whether she’ll bark like a dog and hop on one leg for him, which she promptly does.
There’s a scene very similar to this in Once and Future Kings where we see a much younger, more rebellious Medusa fighting with her handmaids and mother after they inform her that the current king of Attilan has requested a meeting with her. Knowing that the king wants to take her as his queen, Medusa voices her concerns about his intentions, which her sister Crystal’s not in the least bit interested in hearing out.
“Should the Living Terrigenisis demand you moo as a cow, your answer can only be ‘how loud, your majesty?'” Crystal insists.
To be clear, this isn’t a straight up, one-to-one kind of Easter egg here, but everything — including Medusa’s up-do that still manages to trail behind her, like the train of Imani’s elaborate gown — looks and feels like a knowing wink to the 1988 comedy. While Crystal didn’t insist that Medusa bark like a dog, she might as well have, and there’s the obvious gag here that unlike Imani, Medusa is in fact the queen to be.
Even if you gotta squint a little to see the joke here, Once and Future Kings only gets better if you assume the parallels are intentional.