Robert Englund returned to the role of Freddy Krueger for the first time in 15 years with last week's Halloween episode of The Goldbergs, leaving fans to wonder what inspired him to reprise the role. Ultimately, Englund admitted he accepted the opportunity to make his legions of fans happy and give them another encounter with the villain.
"I've been very protective of the character for years … I said no to [series creator] Adam [Goldberg]," Englund admitted to the New York Post. "And then he sent me probably the most beautiful fan letter I ever received, telling me how much A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors meant to him. And then I started thinking about my fans, how it dovetails with the '80s experience and this sort of retro memory play that The Goldbergs is about."
The ABC sitcom is a semi-autobiographical exploration of Goldberg's childhood, of which Freddy Krueger played an important part. In addition to Goldberg's fan letter to Englund, the actor implied that he wanted to bring the character to life in a new way, despite being reduced to a novelty in the absence of no new films since the 2010 remake starring Jackie Earle Haley.
"Freddy's been absorbed by popular culture. There's Hello Kitty decals now," the actor detailed. "He's been on The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, Rick and Morty. He's in comic books. He's everywhere with action figures and dolls and stuff, late-night talk show punch lines. It's like Frankenstein now: he's just a by-word, a logo for the memory of an experience. So I was able to kind of make peace."
Englund debuted as the character in 1984, reprising the role in seven sequels, culminating with 2003's Freddy vs. Jason. As far as why Krueger has resonated with audiences and remains effective to this day, Englund claims it's due to the memories people developed with the character and his many films over the years.
"In a strange, bizarre way, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise became a sort of It's a Wonderful Life for Halloween," the actor shared of his films' appeal. "I get stories from adults who have this memory of their family watching in the middle or late '80s, having walked home from the video store, popping it in and sending out for pizza. This great nesting experience, cuddling with dad or mom before they passed away, watching and getting scared. The fun of tormenting your kid brother or sister, having dad go outside the kids' bedroom at night with a fork and a knife and scratch the window and scare the bejesus out of the kids."
Fans might have to settle for Englund's The Goldbergs appearance as Freddy for now, with no announced plans for a new installment having been announced.
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[H/T New York Post]