Coming 2 America is a sequel that was a long time coming. The original film was released in 1988, making it more than 30 years in between the two installments. While this wasn't the only recent sequel to come out decades after the original, it was perhaps one of the more surprising. While the movie is one of Eddie Murphy's most popular in his career, the further away from it we got, the less likely a sequel ever seemed to be. However, the actor has revealed that the thing that finally happened that made it possible for Coming 2 America to become a reality is that he saw an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
The Coming 2 America star recently explained to Yahoo that he a few years ago he was watching one of the more recent Terminator movies when he realized how they could make Coming 2 America. He saw the CGI work that had been done to de-age Arnold, and realized that if that could be done on a large scale for a science fiction blockbuster, it could also be done on a much smaller scale for what a Coming to America sequel would require. Murphy explains,
You know what happened, I was watching, one of those Terminator movies with Schwarzenegger. and they used the special effect where they made him really young. I was like, ‘If they did that, we could do a scene where we’re young’ … and that was the piece that made it all sort of fall into place.
In the scene in Coming 2 America, we get a flashback to a scene from the first movie, with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall's characters in a bar meeting women. However, thanks to the CGI de-aging, we're given a moment in that sequence that's been added, where Murphy's Price Akeem meets a character played by Leslie Jones. He ends up having a one night stand with her, while high, and so he mostly doesn't remember the encounter.
Eddie Murphy was likely watching 2016's Terminator: Genisys, which acted as a reboot of sorts of the original film. And thus, Arnold needs to appear as both his older self as well as his younger, "original" Terminator. The same tech was also used in the opening sequence of Terminator: Dark Fate. The CGI work has come a long way and while it certainly isn't perfect, it's usually good enough that audiences can suspend disbelief. Especially in a movie like Coming 2 America, where the tech is only used briefly.
And it certainly is useful tech here. While Coming 2 America, like its predecessor, uses a lot of make up effects, it would have been near impossible to make these actors actually look just as they did back in the late 1980s. The CGI helps the movie works in a way it otherwise would not.