The original trilogy of Candyman films, inspired by the Clive Barker short story "The Forbidden," all featured Tony Todd as the titular character, with the announcement that filmmaker Nia DaCosta was developing a new entry into the series immediately igniting questions among fans about how the new film would connect to its predecessors. With Todd himself initially noting that he wasn't involved in the project, some fans assumed it would be an entirely fresh start for the mythology, only for the project to earn descriptions like "spiritual sequel," confirming it wasn't a remake of the source material. With Candyman now landing in theaters, fans have a better idea of how it fits into the overall mythology of the series.
WARNING: Spoilers below for the new Candyman
The biggest change to the expected mythology of the supernatural Candyman that this new take on the material brings is the confirmation that, while Todd's Daniel Robitaille was assuredly the first hook-handed figure to seek vengeance for his unjust death, he was just the start of a legacy that continued with every generation. In fact, while there wasn't a set cycle of years that would ignite a spirit returning from beyond the grave, every few decades there was a person murdered wrongfully who would then assume the form of a "Candyman," with the main specter in the new film being a man who lived in Cabrini-Green who was killed by police under suspicion of tampering with candy handed out to children.
As evidenced by the film's trailers, Yahya Abdul-Mateen's Anthony is targeted by this version of Candyman, with his initial casting resulting in theories that he might actually be playing the iconic villain. Instead, this film confirms that Anthony is actually the infant that was saved by Virginia Madsen's Helen Lyle from being sacrificed in the finale of the 1992 film, which adds more connections to the original adaptation. This also explains Vanessa Williams' role in this new film, as she played the mother whose infant was taken from her in the original Candyman, with this new sequel confirming her involvement in the narrative.
Adding even more context to the Candyman mythology, Colman Domingo's William Burke is a Cabrini-Green resident who develops a connection with Anthony after Anthony visits the neighborhood in hopes of finding inspiration for his artwork. Once Candyman begins to take hold of Anthony, William seizes the opportunity to help fully transform him into becoming the "killer," cutting off his hand and replacing it with a hook. William's hopes are to establish that Anthony was a copycat killer, which will further the urban legends about the neighborhood and prevent police from spending too much time in the area, as well as thwarting the gentrification that has largely displaced Cabrini-Green's original residents.
The film concludes with Anthony's death and him taking on the Candyman mantle, with one sequence showing the character's many faces over the years, which includes an appearance by Todd's Daniel Robitaille. Given that Todd mentioned after the project went into production that he was ultimately enlisted for a small appearance, this sequence also confirms how he was involved in the finished experience.
Candyman is in theaters now.
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