Is There a Future for Freddy Krueger?

With Michael Myers rounding out a trilogy, Ghostface still stabbing, Chucky having his own TV show, and Leatherface going to Netflix, it seems that all the iconic slasher villains are still going strong in their respective franchises.  That is with the exception of Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger.

And while the former’s modern absence can be explained with a complicated legal battle over rights (which is kind of “resolved” now), the latter hasn’t been seen in over a decade and currently there doesn’t seem to be any plan to bring him back in the near future.

For a character that absolutely dominated pop culture in the 80’s (and that can’t be overstated), it’s both fascinating, and a little sad to see him potentially fading into obscurity.  So we wanted to analyze what brought Freddy down this road, and more importantly, what the future looks like for the character and his franchise.

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Freddy had a TV spinoff, he was all over lunchboxes and t-shirts, and even had his own hotline!

King of One Liners
What always separated Freddy from the likes of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, or Leatherface was that he could speak and had a lot of personality.  By the time we get to Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Freddy is a full blown killer comedian, spouting punchlines as he picks off teenagers one by one.

Now to be fair, Chucky and Ghostface also speak and are filled with personality.  But with respect to them both, Chucky is still currently being voiced by original voice actor Brad Dourif, as is Roger Jackson for Ghostface, and the whole point of that villain is that it’s a different character(s) each movie.

Whereas Freddy is very much tied to Robert Englund’s live action performance, and given his age and the extensive makeup process, he understandably has retired from playing the character (aside from a brief cameo in The Goldbergs).  So the only way to keep the character going is to recast, which didn’t exactly go over well.

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His Goldbergs cameo remains the last time Englund ever played the character. The last actual movie he played him in was 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason.

Failed Reboot
At risk of inciting internet outrage, the 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street reboot is actually not a bad movie.  It took the very basic elements and characters of the original, but took on a much darker and more disturbing tone.

And while Freddy was much more despicable and not at all “fun”, that doesn’t mean he was a bad villain.  Jackie Earle Haley is a talented actor, and did a decent job.  That said, the use of CGI for his face looked terrible, and yes the movie was far from perfect.

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For more on the 2010 version, check out our entire piece devoted to it!

But the massive backlash to that movie sent a very loud and clear message to New Line Cinema that fans wouldn’t accept any Freddy Krueger that wasn’t a sarcastic wise-cracker played by Robert Englund.

And yes, it’s true, Englund played that character like no one else could.  And while silent masked killers are easy to recast, unless fans are willing to accept a new actor, that kind of leaves Freddy in a gray area.

The Future of Freddy
We’ll leave it up for debate whether or not these classic horror franchises should continue or simply be left alone.  But the fact is, every other major franchise is continuing onward into the present and future, and will likely continue to do so.  But with Freddy being so tied to his specific actor, it leaves him in the dust, so to speak.

At a certain point, if fans want Freddy content to continue, they will eventually have to be okay with recasting.  Now perhaps that will mean a version of Freddy closer to the original.  Perhaps 2010’s very serious and uncomfortably disturbing Freddy wasn’t the right choice for that time, and turned fans off from the whole idea of a new actor playing him.

But even that was now 13 years ago, and perhaps in the near future, fans would be ready for that again.  Because let’s be honest, Freddy is such a fascinating and creative character, whose M.O. only becomes more relevant in our troubled times.

With so many people addicted to their smartphones and social media and overworking, absolutely no one is getting enough sleep, and there’s potentially a lot you could do with that.  Even with current technology and visual effects, you would have the ability to make Freddy’s dream world an absolute nightmare version of Oz, or Wonderland, or anything a director could think of.

You could even go the Candyman 2021 route where “dream demon” is a title passed from one person to another.  That way, you could maybe even bring back Robert Englund very briefly to pass the torch to another evil killer.  And while that does sound suspiciously similar to Halloween Ends, it certainly is.  But if done properly, one killer passing the torch to another, is a great way to continue a franchise.

In an ideal world, none of these properties would be milked to death the way that studios insist on doing so.  But if all the other major slashers are still getting content made, it’s a bit sad to see a character as charismatic and iconic as Freddy left behind.  But if fans want to ever see him again on the big screen, they’re going to have to accept that Robert Englund won’t play him forever, and that’s not a bad thing.

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He’s part of the slasher legends group, but currenlty doesn’t have a seat at the table.

What do you think the future of Freddy Krueger will be?  What do you think it should be?  Let us know in the comments!

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