Wes Craven, at this time, was still running on the success of 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” His latest project, the bot-gone-bad horror “Deadly Friend,” had fallen into his lap via producer and “Nightmare” fan Bob Sherman, who held the film rights to the bonkers story. The movie would keep Craven from sitting in the director’s chair for NOES 3, so New Line Cinema hired Chuck Russell to make his feature directorial debut.
In the meantime, Craven was still attached to pen the screenplay, a task he shared with writer Bruce Wagner on account of the writing process running concurrently with delivering the first cut of “Deadly Friend.” The AV Club quotes Craven as returning to the Elm Street universe “because [he] felt compelled to come back and expand the original concept.” That is, reminding audiences that Freddy’s grotesqueries weren’t limited to whatever the special effects team could conjure up; this was a monstrous predator long before he got those burn scars.
Craven’s original draft with Wagner was eventually re-worked, decimating the creator’s iteration of Part 3 down to a “Story By” credit. Director Chuck Russell would be assigned the re-writes with Frank Darabont, a collaboration the two would repeat for Russell’s 1988 sophomore feature, “The Blob.” Both their draft and the Craven-Wagner draft are available from the online Nightmare on Elm Street Companion in tidy PDFs for your reading pleasure, but Craven sums it up in the Companion,
“They changed it quite drastically in some ways. The director and a friend of his rewrote it and changed the names of all the characters, and included several key scenes of their own. A lot of the reasons I had agreed to do the picture were taken away.”