While the overall response to last year's Ash vs Evil Dead season 1 from diehard franchise fans was generally very positive, it didn't take long for many viewers to notice the fact that Army of Darkness - the third film in Sam Raimi's celebrated Evil Dead trilogy - never received a direct reference within the show's narrative. It was eventually revealed that the reason behind this odd omission was due to a legal issue with those who hold the rights to Army and the characters and storylines created specifically for that film.
Back in July, Ash vs Evil Dead producer Rob Tapert made statements during the Comic-Con festivities that seemed to pretty clearly state the aforementioned legal issue had been resolved, and that AvED season 2 was now allowed and ready to incorporate elements of Army Of Darkness into the show's ongoing plot. Those who hold Army in high esteem were naturally pleased by this, as many of Ash's most iconic lines and defining character moments took place within the time-traveling horror/comedy.
Unfortunately, it now appears that either Tapert spoke too soon on the matter, or his statements were simply misinterpreted at the time. In a new interview with horror site Arrow in the Head, AvED star Bruce Campbell saw fit to clarify the issue, offering an unequivocal denial that Army references will be included in season 2:
"I've been sort of putting that to bed. It was a random thing that Rob [Tapert] said, and you know how the internet is, if you see one sentence written, it's real. I think Rob was more alluding to the fact that we've already taken stuff that would have been in Army of Darkness. He still time-travels before Army of Darkness. People have always asked, "Where is Army of Darkness?" Like, we don't really need Army of Darkness. That was sort of our take on the whole thing. You've got to be careful referencing certain movies, because then you have to make deals with certain partners that might own those certain movies."
If anyone would be in a position to know what is and isn't referenced in AvED season 2, one would assume it would be Campbell, who rode the Ash role all the way to becoming a genre icon. Still, one wonders if Tapert got ahead of himself, and the rights issue he thought was solved wasn't actually cleared up. Why? Because his comments at the time were just as confidently stated as Campbell's:
"We actually can reference [Army of Darkness], and we reference it in this coming season. We just don’t pull upon that universe, but this coming season Ash is able to talk about events that happened in Army of Darkness, although people are not likely to believe him, of course.”
To be fair, one can argue about what exactly "we just don't pull upon that universe" means in hindsight, but the first sentence doesn't really hedge any bets, flatly stating both that they can reference Army and that they will in season 2.
Whether or not Ash vs Evil Dead season 2 does indeed reference Army of Darkness - and there's no real reason to doubt the veracity of Campbell's denial - it still looks like fans are in for another extremely wild ride, full of both gruesomely gory deaths and hilarious slapstick moments. At the end of the day, if season 2 delivers as well as season 1 did, viewers are likely to overlook any misgivings they might have about Army's events effectively being ignored.
Ash vs Evil Dead returns to Starz for season 2 on October 2, 2016.
Source: Arrow in the Head