Freddy Krueger star Robert Englund originally turned down the character’s recent cameo on The Goldbergs. Englund played Freddy for close to 20 years, from the original 1984 A Nightmare On Elm Street all the way to 2003’s Freddy Vs Jason. While Freddy started out as a shadowy figure with a twisted sense of humor, he gradually morphed into more of a comedian as the franchise became more successful, and he’d often off his victims with the aid of a terrible pun.
Despite his long-awaited crossover battle with Jason proving a huge success, a planned sequel titled Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash soon fell into development hell and eventually died. Englund soon declared himself too old to reprise the character, and he was replaced in the 2010 remake by Jackie Earle Haley. While the reboot made a profit, its near universal critical panning made sure a sequel didn’t happen, and outside of Freddy Krueger making cameos in the Mortal Kombat games and Ready Player One, the series has been dormant ever since.
Englund has ruled himself out of reprising Freddy Krueger for years now, but he was talked into making a guest appearance on sitcom The Goldbergs. In an episode titled “Mister Knifey-Hands,” Freddy appears to Beverly Goldberg in a nightmare after her son watches A Nightmare On Elm Street, which also marks the first time Englund has donned the razor glove in 15 years. In a new interview with The Nerdist, he reveals he originally wasn’t interested.
When they approached me I said no immediately because I couldn’t imagine Freddy on prime time. I could imagine him on a special episode of American Horror Story or something like that, but then when I got the script—and this is the truth—I’d sort of been having an epiphany after having done 10 years of Comic-Cons and film festivals.
Englund ultimately accepted as the episode is an ode to the fans, and also explained he had to let go of his overprotectiveness when he realised Freddy doesn’t belong to him anymore.
I’ve sort of surrendered Freddy, and I’ve been doing a lot of other projects—horror, lots of voiceovers, games—and I didn’t think The Goldbergs was going to be a good fit. They were talking to me and talking to me, and I’ve been protecting Freddy and the integrity of Freddy for so long, but Freddy has been so absorbed now by popular culture. There’s LEGO Freddys, there’s Freddy on The Simpsons, there’s Freddy on Rick and Morty, there’s female Freddys, there’s sexy Freddys, there’s Hello Kitty Freddys, there’s Peanuts Freddys, and so I just said it’s not my responsibility or burden anymore to protect him.
Fan response to Freddy’s Goldbergs appearance has been mostly positive, and already there’s demand for Englund to return for another A Nightmare On Elm Street movie. Englund himself mildly fanned the flames by softening his stance on another sequel, stating he could have one more Freddy movie left in him. He thinks the studio will opt for a new performer since any reboot will ultimately be eyeing further sequels, but as the remake proved, replacing an iconic portrayal like Englund’s is no easy feat.
Freddy Krueger appearance on The Goldbergs comes in the wake of Halloween 2018’s huge box-office success too, which has already led to talk of a sequel. A reboot of Friday The 13th is also being discussed, so it likely won’t be long until producers are seriously considering A Nightmare On Elm Street – it’s just a question of whether Englund is willing to endure hours of make-up one last time.