Everything We Know About 'Candyman'

The 2021 'Candyman' revival from Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele is set to hit theaters on August 27. Here's everything we know about the horror revival.

Universal Pictures

Image via Universal Pictures


We’ve been waiting on the Candyman revival for a little over a year. It was supposed to come out in June 2020; the pandemic threw a wrench into that plan, postponing the long-awaited return of the horror icon. But based on the initial buzz and reactions, the delay will have been worth it.

The movie, which is brought to us by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, was co-written by Peele, Win Rosenfeld, and Nia DaCosta—who also directed the film—is a direct sequel to the original Candyman from 1992. It takes us back to the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects, now torn down and gentrified into upper-class condos. But the legend and presence of Candyman still festers and thrives in some people’s memories.

Here is everything we know so far about Candyman, which hits theaters nationwide on August 27.

A sequel and a retcon


Meet director Nia DaCosta

'Candyman' behind the scenes

...and co-writer/producer Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele attends the premiere of Amazon Prime Video's 'Hunters'

Familiar faces

Tony Todd holds onto Virginia Madsen in a scene from the film 'Candyman', 1992.

The new class

'Candyman' Teyonah Parris and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

What happened in the first film?

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Candyman (1992) was based upon the short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker. In the first movie, Helen Lyle was a white grad student in Chicago, who was investigating the urban legend of Candyman, a malevolent spirit with a hook arm who haunted the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects.


We learned, from the oral histories of several black Chicago residents (and one smarmy white professor) that Candyman had been blamed for several murders in the area, which were triggered by a person saying “Candyman” five times in a mirror.


We further learned that Candyman (real name: Daniel Robitaille) was the son of a slave, who was lynched for impregnating a white woman; the mob cut off his arm with a rusty saw and then covered him with honey, allowing him to be stung to death by bees.

How did the original 'Candyman' end?

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The twist ending of 1992’s Candyman [Ed note: Obvious spoilers]: It turned out that Helen was the reincarnation of the white woman who Candyman impregnated. Candyman framed Helen as a serial murderer, then tried to reclaim her by kidnapping Anthony, threatening to kill the child if Helen did not comply. The movie ended with Helen sacrificing her life to save Anthony’s. She then became a malevolent spirit, who, like Candyman, could be summoned by saying her name in a mirror five times.

The current story (so far)

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in 'Candyman'

New Candyman?


Deeper themes

Teyonah Parris and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in 'Candyman'

Centering the Black experience

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One key detail about this sequel is that it will center the Black experience. The original film cast Helen as a “fish out of water,” a white protagonist who learned about Black trauma over the course of the movie. The new sequel, which stars Black characters in all the lead roles, will take a different tack and will strive to show more than just pain and suffering.


“Trauma has been, obviously, a very, very real, visceral part of the Black experience in America, but we’re so much more than our trauma,” said Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in an interview with The Guardian. “What about joy? And love? And what about magic and hopefulness and possibility? And the everyday mundane? Those are equally the stories that I care about bringing into the world, and that I plan to produce and develop.”

Candyman will hit theaters on August 27, 2021.

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