Star Trek’s David Warner Was The First Freddy Krueger, See His Original Makeup

The late David Warner was director Wes Craven's original choice to play slasher icon Freddy Krueger, and a Twitter user posts images from the actor's makeup test.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

david warner freddy krueger

While it no doubt now seems impossible to separate the role from Robert Englund, it was the late David Warner — known better for his many roles in stories culled from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek dreams — who Wes Craven wanted to play Freddy Krueger. Warner reportedly had to pass on 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street because of scheduling conflicts, but he got as far as a makeup test for the role. A fan posted images of the makeup test to Twitter, including more from Warner’s other work, below.

We don’t know exactly what project it was that kept David Warner from playing Freddy Krueger, but you don’t have to look any farther than his IMDb page to see 1984 — the same year principal photography on A Nightmare on Elm Street began as well as the same year it hit theaters — was a busy one for the English actor. Warner made appearances that year in two TV series, two TV movies, the drama feature Summer Lightning, and the gothic fantasy horror film The Company of Wolves.

It would be interesting to visit whatever corner of the multiverse David Warner, instead of Robert Englund, took on the role of Freddy Krueger. It’s difficult to imagine Warner playing the role if, for no other reason, he would presumably need to adopt an American accent. We’re sure the veteran thespian would be up to the challenge of playing an American, but Warner without his accent almost feels like Freddy without his claws.

nightmare on elm street

Instead of David Warner, Robert Englund played the iconic Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, seven more films, and Freddy’s Nightmares — A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series. His status as the melty-faced monster who kills teens in their dreams helped Englund secure other roles, particularly in the horror genre. Most recently he made a surprise appearance in Season 4 of the Netflix hit series Stranger Things.

david warner freddy krueger
David Warner in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

David Warner never got to play Freddy Krueger, but he did get to play some of the most memorable one-off characters in a less horror-centric franchise: Star Trek. His first Trek role was in William Shatner‘s feature directorial debut, 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, as St. John Talbot — the Federation ambassador to Nimbus III. He would appear two years later as the much more makeup-intensive Klingon character Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

david warner freddy krueger
David Warner in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Chain of Command

The year after the original Enterprise crew made their final voyage, Warner made his last Star Trek appearance as one of the chief antagonists of the two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Chain of Command.” Warner played Gul Madred, a Cardassian interrogator who forces Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) to endure unspeakable torture, famously insisting that Picard tell him there are five lights behind him when there are only four.

David Warner left behind an enviable treasure trove of work when he passed away last July, even without being able to count Freddy Krueger among his accomplishments. He was 80 years old.