Ahead of the release of the new Candyman movie it wasn't entirely clear at first if original star Tony Todd would be involved. At a certain point it seemed like a sure thing for the actor to reprise his role, even if only for a brief moment, but the marketing for Nia DaCosta's reboot set the stage for a reinvention of the Candyman mythology. As fans who saw the movie know however, the new Candyman ended up being a proper sequel to the 1992 movie and how it would have brought back the original star was something that evolved over time. Spoilers for the new Candyman below!
"We definitely knew Tony Todd would be involved in a very specific way - which is basically what we did," DaCosta said on the Empire Spoiler Special Podcast. "What's so interesting is everyone's like, 'You have to bring him back, and bring Helen back.' And it's like, well, they both aren't allowed to age, because they're both ghosts. So that's immediately the trickiest thing about it."
Over the course of the Candyman reboot it becomes clear that the name/title of "Candyman" is one that has recurred over the years and been a label given to several tragic figures, the first of which was Tony Todd's Daniel Robitaille as seen in the first movie with the film's main "Candyman" being new character Sherman Fields. That said, Todd's version does appear in the closing minutes of the movie very briefly, appearing with a de-aged version of Todd who implores Teyonah Parris' Brianna to "tell everyone," and thus spread the legend again.
Luckily the new film didn't do the "bad version" of a cameo as DaCosta put it, but the cyclical nature of the legend in the film is what opened up the door to a proper cameo.
"The original script I don't think had that kernel of an idea in it," DaCosta added. "But what it did have was the idea that Anthony himself would become Candyman at the end of the film. That really spoke to me. I was like, 'Oh that's so great, because I really want to talk about the fact that these people we make into martyrs or monsters are humans first of all.' [...] At least for me, it was about making sure we talked about the fact that this was cyclical and that history repeats itself, and this isn't just an incident that happened to one guy named Daniel Robitaille. It's actually an environment in which we live that allows for these things to happen over and over again."