A new Evil Dead project has been confirmed by Sam Raimi, with Bruce Campbell producing but not starring as Ash. Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise is often given honorific status among horror fans, with many still awaiting a sequel to 1992’s Army of Darkness. Whether or not Raimi will eventually decide to provide fans with a fourth Evil Dead film has been the subject of debate for a very long time, indeed. The three films in the original franchise - beginning in 1981 with The Evil Dead, followed by 1987’s Evil Dead II and culminating with Army of Darkness - helped to make a cult cinema icon out of Campbell, whose gun toting, wise-cracking, demon destroying Ash character is at the center of every Evil Dead film.
All of this changed, however, in 2013 when an Evil Dead reboot was released, directed by Fede Alvarez. The new film did not include Ash, something fans had to wait until 2015 for, when Starz released the TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead, which saw Campbell and Raimi return, though Raimi’s role remained mostly as producer. Ash vs. Evil Dead concluded after three all too brief seasons in 2018, and upon its completion, fans continued to question the possibility of another Evil Dead film.
Attending the panel for the upcoming quasi-reboot of The Grudge at NYCC, Raimi confirmed he is, in fact, getting set to bring another Evil Dead project to the big screen. Unfortunately, Raimi was tight-lipped about his latest Evil Dead project, merely saying he's writing it and Campbell will be involved only in a producing capacity. Raimi briefly acknowledged, “There’s more Evil Dead coming,” before explaining, "[Campbell is] tired of me throwing blood on him. Forty years of Bruce and those sticky syrup shirts... He wants to work again, but he just doesn’t want to play that role right now."
It therefore appears that it’s Campbell who isn’t interested in revisiting the film’s original franchise with a fourth addition - though they can continue the continuity without Ash. That’s understandable to a certain degree - as no one wants to play the same character forever. At the same time, however, Campbell is almost exclusively known for his work on the Evil Dead series. It’s what’s given him a lengthy career and hordes of adoring fans. The idea of him producing a new Evil Dead film is at the very least a comfort to fans that the franchise won’t just be handed over to anyone, but given the choice between Raimi and Campbell producing or the duo joining forces in an actor/director capacity on a new Evil Dead film, it’s clear which option wins out.
Of course, Raimi hasn’t said that a fourth Evil Dead film will never happen, he’s just saying it’s not going to happen now. It's possible he's referring to a sequel to the 2013, which could also be great, but many argue the reboot took the fun out of the concept and generally took itself too seriously. That’s a valid complaint for a series that gained its following for blending just the right amounts of fear, fun and plenty of gore. Hopefully whatever Raimi's new Evil Dead project turns out to be will keep that in mind as it gets underway in the months to come.