Bruce Campbell is set to reprise his signature role of Ashley J Williams, hero of the original ‘Evil Dead’ trilogy, in TV series ‘Ash vs. The Evil Dead.’
Director Sam Raimi, who broke through with the ‘Evil Dead’ movies before really hitting the big time with ‘Spider-Man,’ has long hinted that he was not done with his creation - despite the 2013 reboot, in which Campbell’s Ash did not appear (aside from a very brief and inconsequential post-credits coda).
A direct sequel to third film ‘Army of Darkness’ was rumoured for some time - but now Raimi, Campbell and fellow producer Rob Tapert have confirmed that Ash’s return will be in a small screen format, with a 10-part series for US cable network Starz.
If the return of Campbell alone was not sufficient cause for fan excitement, it’s even more encouraging to learn Raimi intends to direct the first episode of the series, which he has co-written with his brother Ivan (as was also the case on ‘Army of Darkness.’)
The press release tell us the series will follow the adventures of Ash, “stockboy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead.”
Raimi says, “Evil Dead has always been a blast. Bruce, Rob, and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the next chapter in Ash’s lame, but heroic saga.
"With his chainsaw arm and his ‘boomstick,’ Ash is back to kick some monster butt. And brother, this time there’s a truckload of it."
Campbell adds, “I’m really excited to bring this series to the ‘Evil Dead’ fans worldwide. It’s going to be everything they have been clamoring for: serious deadite ass-kicking and plenty of outrageous humor.”
There is no indication just yet as to whether or not ‘Ash vs. The Evil Dead’ will have any connection to 2013’s ‘Evil Dead’ from director Fede Alvarez, for which a sequel is still said to be on the drawing board.
1980’s ‘The Evil Dead’ was notoriously condemned as a ‘video nasty’ by the British press, and was subsequently withdrawn from video release for several years, and only released uncut in 2000.
However, 1987’s ‘Evil Dead II’ was rather more cartoonish and slapstick (or rather ‘splatstick’), and turned Ash - more or less the hero by default in the original - into the chisel-jawed, excessively macho, intellectually challenged tough guy that has since made Campbell a cult icon.
This persona went on to reach a wider audience in 1992’s significantly more mainstream and less violent ‘Army of Darkness’ - and there were briefly plans for Campbell to reprise the role once more in a sequel to 2003’s ‘Freddy vs. Jason.’
Raimi, Tapert and Campbell are of course no strangers to television, having produced numerous shows including ‘Hercules: the Legendary Journeys’ and ‘Xena: Warrior Princess,’ both of which Campbell often guest starred in.
More recently, Raimi and Tapert produced the ‘Spartacus’ series, also for Starz - and considering that was among the most gruesome shows ever broadcast on TV, it seems safe to assume ‘Ash vs. The Evil Dead’ won’t have to hold back on the gore. Again - fans should be happy.
The series is intended to air at an as-yet unspecified date in 2015.
Picture Credit: DeLaurentis Entertainment Group, NBC