Throughout his illustrious career, Bruce Campbell has played rude maitre’ d’s, snooty ushers, doomed archaeological explorers, and obnoxious versions of himself; he’s played disgraced Navy SEALs, the king of rock and roll, and, as of last Sunday’s episode of The Librarians, he’s even played Santa Claus. But Campbell will always and forever be known as Ashley J.”Ash” Williams, the chainsaw-handed, shotgun wielding, demon fighting antihero of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films.
So it’s only natural that Raimi and Campbell, the icons of the series, should return to show a new generation the right way to clean up evil in Starz’ upcoming Ash vs Evil Dead TV series. Credit due to Fede Alvarez for making a slick update on the Evil Dead formula in his 2013 remake; he turned out a tidy profit for TriStar and churned a few stomachs in the process, but all without capturing the magic of the original movies.
Hence Starz’ continuation of what Raimi and Campbell started all the way back in 1981, and all signs suggest that they’re coming back to the series ready to do what they do best: kick some serious Deadite butt. In a recent interview with EW, Campbell spilled a bit – actually a lot – regarding the direction the show will take following the reveal of the official synopsis last month, and how Ash has grown since we last saw him in 1992’s Army of Darkness.
And according to Campbell, time has done a number on our hero, because he’s living alone in a trailer park while working at a big-box store (the store isn’t explicitly pegged as S-Mart, but it’s a likely reference point) as he deals with his lingering feelings from tangling with the undead. This is an older, crankier version of Ash, and make no mistake. Here’s the full quote from Campbell:
Ash has survivor’s guilt. You could have a heyday with his PTSD. He’s a war vet. He doesn’t want to talk about it, and he’ll lie about that stump on his hand to impress the ladies. This is a guy who’s got some issues. He’s emotionally stunted. But he’s the guy you want in the foxhole next to you. That’s the funny thing—he’s kind of an idiot, but man, if I had to go to battle, I’d want to be next to that guy, because he’ll bring it if he has to.
Sounds like a good start place for character development. In terms of specifics, Campbell mentions that he’ll be teaming up with two of his young co-workers to fight off the Deadites this time around, too, giving him a pair of foils to work off of in action and in comedy alike. Neither of those roles have been cast yet, but based on Campbell’s comments, there’s an immediate impression that we could be looking at both a male and a female co-star (depending on how casting goes).
Also of note: Raimi and co. are a go for splatter. This is the benefit of working with a network like Starz, of course – no one has to worry about how graphic and bloody things get from week to week – and the fact that we’re talking about Raimi operating in his traditional milieu should make the lack of constraints even more exciting for fans.
Back in 2009, Raimi reminded us all that he’s still got it as far as gooey, gruesome nastiness goes in Drag Me to Hell; and if he’s allowed to nuts with Campbell here, then the results could be pretty satisfying. (Hints that Raimi might stick to his usual array of FX techniques don’t hurt, either.) Getting the gang back together is thrilling, but seeing what Campbell does to transform Ash from the loudmouth tough guy we know and love might be the best thing that the show currently has going for it.
Ash Vs. Evil Dead will air on Starz in 2015.