Wakanda vs. Zamunda: Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Coming 2 America’ Filmmakers Distinguish the Fictional Countries

For 30 years, Zamunda was the most famous fake country in movies ever since Coming to America introduced the fictional kingdom in 1988. In 2018, Black Panther finally visited Wakanda on the big screen. Before, it had only existed in comic books. Now, the Coming to America sequel, Coming 2 America returns to Zamunda, with Ruth Carter also designing the costumes for both. 

Coming to America sequel: Eddie Murphy as Akeem
Eddie Murphy | Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures/Amazon Studios

Coming 2 America director Craig Brewer spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about recreating Zamunda. He said it was important to distinguish it from Wakanda, because both are very important representations of ideal African countries. Coming 2 America premieres March 5 on Amazon Prime and we’ll still have more with Brewer and the cast here on Showbiz Cheat Sheet. 

Is Zamunda a real place? 

Unfortunately, there is no real Zamunda, just as there is no real Wakanda. The Coming to America and Black Panther films realize both vividly, though. The original film built Zamunda on the Paramount Studios lot, as well as one location at the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena, California. Coming 2 America used Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, instead.

Zamundan Akeem and Nextdoorian Izzi
L-R: Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes | Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures/Amazon Studios

RELATED: ‘Coming to America’: Is Zamunda a Real Place?

“I always tell people it’s northeast of Wakanda,” Brewer said. “We would have serious conversations about what’s the difference between Wakanda and Zamunda with Ruth Carter who designed both of them. And get down to what is a Wakanda way and what is a Zamundan way?”

What sets Wakanda apart from Zamunda

Coming to America is a comedy while Black Panther is a comic book action movie. That sets the needs of Wakanda apart. In addition, Marvel films like Captain America: Civil War highlight Wakanda’s diplomacy efforts and Avengers: Infinity War expands on Wakandan technology.

Wakanda in Black Panther
Wakanda | Film Frame/Marvel Studios

“What we talked about was that Wakanda is more of a warrior society of royalty,” Brewer said. “They are protectors. They are not only protectors of Wakanda but of the continent, protectors of their technology.”

‘Coming 2 America’ shows more Zamundan customs 

In Coming to America, Zamunda was simply a lavish royal society that believed in arranged marriages. Akeem (Eddie Murphy) wanted to break free from tradition and choose his own bride, but in Coming 2 America, audiences will learn a lot more about Zamundan customs. 

Coming 2 America: Shari Headley, Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy in Zamunda
L-R: Shari Headley, Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy | Annette Brown/Paramount Pictures/Amazon Studios

“Whereas Zamunda was a little bit more immersed in kind of that colonial African style of statesman,” Brewer said. “They would have more dinners. People coming from other countries would probably come to Zamunda to have a good state’s dinner and entertainment and do a tour of the various sites of Zamunda. It really did have kind of a different look to it and a different feel to it than Wakanda.”

Sources: Interview with Craig Brewer, Movie-Locations.com

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