Everybody’s favorite one-handed, chainsaw-wielding, demon-battling department store employee is coming back this fall in Ash vs. Evil Dead, a TV sequel to Sam Raimi’s trilogy of Evil Dead movies, which is premiering on Starz this Halloween with Craig DiGregorio (Chuck) acting as showrunner. As a surprise treat for those attending New York Comic-Con last week, Starz debuted the pilot episode (which was directed by Raimi) to a packed audience of horror fans, and the show’s cast were also present to answer questions.
Lucy Lawless, a long-time collaborator on Raimi’s projects, also stars in the series as a mysterious woman called Ruby, who is extremely skilled at killing Deadites and for some reason bears a grudge against Ashley J. Williams. When Lawless told us at San Diego Comic-Con that Ruby’s last name was Knowby, we had our suspicions about why she might be so angry, and now the actress has confirmed Ruby’s connection to the Evil Dead movies.
If you guessed that the Knowby family name meant that Ruby was related to Professor Knowby, the researcher who so unwisely read from a book made of human skin in the first movie (and recorded himself doing so), then you were correct. As Lawless explained to Screen Rant, the Professor’s legacy is still haunting his daughter.
“Ruby’s dad was Professor Knowby, and he was the original holder of the Necronomicon in the movies, so her family was destroyed – her father, mother and big sister were destroyed – and she was orphaned. She blames [Ash] for this Deadite plague, now he’s released it again, and she’s going to put him in the ground. So she teams up with Amanda Fisher, this cool cop from Michigan, and they Thelma and Louise it. They go on a road trip to hunt [Ash] and his shambling trailer.”
As mentioned, by Lawless, Ruby will be accompanied on her journey by Amanda Fisher, a state trooper who becomes embroiled in the Deadite mess. Jill Marie Jones, speaking alongside Lawless, explained that she was very new to playing an action hero. “I’d never held a real gun, I’d never shot a real gun until this – thank you, Sam Raimi,” she said wryly. Jones’ mother, however, had a decades-long career as a federal investigator. “In a lot of ways, I feel like Amanda Fisher reminds me so much of her.”
“Amanda Fisher, she’s definitely a badass, but she’s one of the good guys,” Jones continued. “She fights for good and… that’s my mommy [laughs].” As seen in the trailer for Ash vs. Evil Dead, Ruby helps Amanda out after a nasty encounter with some Deadites and after that the two team up, trailing along behind Ash’s trailer in an effort to catch up to him and put an end to the Deadite plague once and for all.
Raimi produced Fede Alvarez’s 2013 reboot of The Evil Dead, but Ash vs. Evil Dead marks his first time directing an entry in the franchise since Army of Darkness. Raimi has said that, assuming the first season does well, he’d like to come back and direct an episode of Season 2 – so let’s hope that Ash vs. Evil Dead is as good as it looks.
Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres October 31, 2015 on Starz.