This week, production began on the highly anticipated upcoming Starz series, Ash vs Evil Dead, which has creators Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell reuniting, this time in New Zealand, to bring fans a new iteration of everyone’s favorite chainsaw-wielding anti-hero.

Daily Dead had the opportunity to take part in a very special conference call with the trio about what we can expect from the first 10-episode season (and beyond), how Ash vs Evil Dead will fit into the overall Evil Dead universe, input into some of the new characters we’ll be meeting along the way and much, much more.

Ash vs Evil Dead will definitely be hardline horror but expect some quintessential Evil Dead comedy to show up from time to time: According to Raimi, Ash vs Evil Dead is definitely going to be an intense horror experience but when you’re working with someone like Campbell who has such impeccable comedic timing, of course you need to add in those comedic touches to the script. “We’re going back to the horror of the first two Evil Dead’s but then we’re going to be infusing this with the comedy from the second and third Evil Dead films,” explained Raimi.

Ash vs Evil Dead will take place in a slightly altered Evil Dead universe: While Raimi, Tapert and Campbell didn’t want to reveal any spoilers during our call (which we appreciated), what we did learn is that this new series will take place in modern days and will pick up somewhere after Evil Dead 2 leaves off. We will also see some similar locations to ones we’ve seen in the film series but fans can expect a modernized twist on them.

Ash will be fighting Deadites- and other types of evil entities too: As Tapert explained on the call, Deadites are of course an essential element to any Evil Dead story but Ash will also be facing other kinds of evil during the series, opening worlds of possibilities they’re all excited explore during the first and upcoming seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead.

When we catch up with Ash in the new series, he’s considered “damaged goods”: Campbell discussed the headspace of his character during the call, saying, “He’s not in the best shape, mentally, and that’s something that appealed to me as an actor. And the interesting twist this time is that now, Ash is in charge of saving the world which is huge.”

Raimi also offered up his thoughts on just where the character of Ash is now, after all this time. “Ash is no finer or nobler than he was the last time we saw him. His courage hasn’t been whipped up into a frenzy or anything; in fact, he’s pretty much at his lowest point when we first find him and it’s only through his actions that a hero is reborn within himself.”

Ash might be responsible for the return of the Deadites and the other evil forces that are unleashed: Raimi was possibly joking (there was a good amount of laughter involved) but it was mentioned during the call that Ash (in typical form) just could very well be the guy who rustles up the Deadites after they had been lying dormant for all these years. Nothing specific was mentioned but knowing Ash’s proclivity of forgetting key words to certain incantations.

There is the potential to see Ash get into a few romantic entanglements on Ash vs Evil Dead- eventually: While Raimi argues that his girlfriends are far unluckier, to say that Ash’s love life has been complicated over the years is something of an understatement. That being said, fans shouldn’t necessarily expect to see our favorite ladies man getting himself any sugar or indulging in some pillow talk right away on Ash vs Evil Dead, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually either.  According to Campbell, when the time does come for Ash to cross paths with a love interest, it will be something that “makes sense within the overall story for the series.”

As with any Evil Dead story, there is potential for time travel down the road in Ash vs Evil DeadRaimi talked about the fact that season one very much takes place during the present day but said he hasn’t ruled out the potential for any kind of time travel in the future, possibly as early as the end of the first season as they haven’t mapped out the final two episodes fully at the time of the call.

Ash vs Evil Dead will definitely have an overarching storyline but casual fans won’t feel alienated if they pop in for an episode here and there either: According to Tapert, there will be a lot to appreciate in Ash Vs. Evil Dead for both die-hard and casual fans alike. He also credited the 30-minute format as a way for them to be able to capitalize on the shorter format to keep the pacing brisk, much like the original films did.

Just because we’re getting an Ash vs Evil Dead television series does that mean we won’t ever see Campbell back on the big screen- or a possible sequel to Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake: During the conference call, Raimi was asked about how the new series affects the status of a sequel to the 2013 remake and Campbell cleared up whether or not fans can ever expect to see his iconic character on the big screen now that he’s set to take over the Starz network later this year.

“I loved the Evil Dead remake and I think Fede did an amazing job,” explained Raimi. “I genuinely love that movie and I do hope that one day we do get to make a sequel to it. I just think the one thing we heard from the fans, who all were really supportive of it, was that they were hoping to have Ash in it in some capacity. So we just thought the idea of a series would work and so we chose to go with Bruce’s character’s story for now. I do hope we can get back with Fede though and make another Evil Dead with him.”

Campbell added, “Another Evil Dead movie will always be a possibility either way. Nothing ever precedes anything so it’s always an option for us. I don’t think, even with the upcoming series, that we’ll ever want to shut the door on any possibility to play around in this universe.”

Ash vs Evil Dead becoming a reality was largely due to the fans insistence for more Evil Dead: During the conference call, Raimi discussed that regardless of whatever project he was working on or promoting over the years, the one series he would always be asked about was Evil Dead and when we’d see another installment of the cult franchise.

“The one thing Ivan (Raimi) and I kept being asked about over and over again was about the potential for more Evil Dead; it didn’t matter if it was Spider-Man or whatever, it always came back to Evil Dead. I tried to ignore it for so long just because I wanted to go out there and make different kinds of films but then I realized that maybe it was time to revisit it. So I went to Ivan and we wrote a number of different ideas up- ideas set in the future, ideas that picked up after the first Evil Dead or even after Army of Darkness but nothing was quite right for the big screen.”

“Plus, we know we have a smaller demo than a lot of franchises so it didn’t necessarily make sense to do a big, Hollywood movie. That’s when Rob suggested doing it as a TV show. The best thing about this series is Ash so why not use a format where fans can spend more time with him than a traditional movie would allow? Rob’s got a ton of experience producing in television and Bruce is a pro on TV so it all made perfect sense.”

Just because Evil Dead is coming to TV, don’t expect the showrunners to shy away from the series’ signature violence and gore: According to Tapert, the Evil Dead tradition of crazy gore and violence will live on in Ash vs Evil Dead and they’re working with special effects master Roger Murray (Evil Dead remake, 30 Days of Night) to create all kinds of gore-soaked madness that fans have come to expect from the series over the years, but with an updated twist of course.

Ash will not be battling against the Evil Dead alone this time around: Tapert also filled us in on some of the new faces to the Evil Dead universe and how they happen to fit into Ash’s world.

“In this incarnation, there’s a team that begins to form around Ash as he battles against Deadites and all kinds of evil,” said Tapert. “There’s Pablo (Ray Santiago) who’s a young immigrant that wants to be part of the American experience and ends up following Ash. Then, there’s Dana DeLorenzo who plays Kelly Maxwell; she’s kind of Pablo’s love interest but she doubts Ash and his motives at first so there’s some conflict. Eventually, she realizes there’s something bigger at play though.”

“Then there’s Jill Marie Jones who plays a police officer that sees something she doesn’t quite believe and it ends up causing some major problems in her career. She crosses paths with Ash and thinks he’s the one responsible for all the weird things happening. And of course we have Lucy Lawless who’s playing Ruby, a character that knows something about the Evil Dead and is on the hunt for Ash. There will also be other characters along the way but that’s the core team for season one.”

Raimi, Tapert and Campbell aren’t the only Evil Dead veterans returning to work on the Ash vs Evil Dead show:  Also returning are composer Joe LoDuca and editor Bob Murawski who are back to add in that certain Evil Dead flavor that Raimi and Tapert both recognized were essential to the series.

Raimi, Campbell and Tapert are in it for the long haul when it comes to Ash vs Evil Dead: During the conference call, Raimi reinforced the idea that everyone involved with this new Evil Dead project isn’t looking to kill some time between films and that they’re planning on Ash vs Evil Dead sticking around for at least a few seasons. According to Campbell, “I’m not planning on going anywhere else anytime soon. Taking on this series was a big thing for me and I’m taking it very seriously.”

“Bruce did make some supreme sacrifices for Ash vs Evil Dead so I can vouch for his dedication. We’re all dedicated to this show for the long haul,” added Tapert.

Raimi, who is directing the first episode but will be heavily involved with the series in an ongoing capacity, agreed with Tapert, “I feel the same way- we’re all very dedicated to the success of this show. We’re really loving this process and working together again. We all love this universe deeply and that’s why we’re here now.”


Production Start Notice and First Set Photo: "The STARZ Original series “Ash vs Evil Dead” began production this month in New Zealand on the 10-episode first season of the half-hour series executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, the original filmmakers of the franchise, and Craig DiGregorio who will serve as executive producer and showrunner.  “Ash vs Evil Dead” is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead and is set to premiere on STARZ in fall 2015.

Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead.  When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal.  Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.

The cast is led by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) in the role of Ash Williams, Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus”) as Ruby a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks, Ray Santiago (“Touch,” Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick, Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past and Jill Marie Jones (“Sleepy Hollow”) as Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find our anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner.

Raimi is directing the first episode of “Ash vs Evil Dead” that he wrote with Ivan Raimi (Darkman, Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell), Craig DiGregorio (“Workaholics,” “Chuck”) and Tom Spezialy (“Chuck,” “Reaper,” “Desperate Housewives”). Raimi will also serve as executive producer, with Rob Tapert (Evil Dead, “Spartacus,” Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) along with Craig DiGregorio (“Workaholics,” “Chuck”) who will serve as executive producer/showrunner. Ivan Raimi will co-executive produce and Aaron Lam (“Spartacus”) and Chloe Smith (“Spartacus”) will serve as producers."

PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right: Executive producer Robert Tapert, star of the series and executive producer Bruce Campbell along with executive producer Sam Raimi, original filmmakers of the EVIL DEAD franchise, start production on the TV series “Ash vs Evil Dead” which will premiere this fall on Starz.

PHOTO CREDIT: © 2015 Starz Entertainment, LLC

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.