The wait is nearly over. Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 returns on February 25th and we're kicking off our cast interview series with Ray Santiago, who discusses Pablo's evolution, prepping for Season 2's bloody finale, working with the new cast, and interacting with fans at conventions. Check back tomorrow for our exclusive interview with Dana DeLorenzo.

It’s been a bit of a longer wait for Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2, but I just finished the first five episodes of the new season and I think our readers are really going to love it.

Ray Santiago: Great. I'm happy to hear that. I really feel like season 3, the evolution of Pablo, has come full circle with everything that we've planted from season 1 and everything that happens in season 2, you really get to see him teeter up. With the spectrum of good and evil this season, you get to watch him become the hero that he never thought he could be and fulfill his destiny as one of a long line of brujos that he came from. I didn't think that we would go in this direction. It's been really nice because he's probably the character who has had the most horrible things happen to him and the one that you just want to buck up and get some more Deadite kills under his belt.

Yeah, every time you think Pablo has a chance at a normal life, something else happens to him. Season 2 even saw Pablo die, even if just for a short period of time. When you were filming season 2, did you know what the end point was for your character? Did you think that maybe that would be your last season, or did you know going into it that you'd continue on to season 3?

Ray Santiago: Yes, I did know. Thank God. It was Rob Tapert, the executive producer, who came up to me before we started shooting when we were doing the commentary for season 1, and he said to me, "We're going to kill you, but then we're going to come back in time and save your life." I was really able to go through shooting all of the episodes and go into season 2 knowing what was going to happen, but really having a beginning and an end point, which was really great because I was able to map out the journey a little bit more.

I wanted him to be tormented by these visions that he was having in season 2. I was really diving in deep. I didn't know how I was going to die. I didn't know that I was going to be shirtless as much as I was. It was really awesome that I decided to try and give him this transformation where you see Pablo as this little guy and then I thought, “Well, how cool would it be if we ever get the chance to see him with his shirt off to try to be like, ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’” By the end of the season you got to see what we were planning if he were to come back and what ultimately happens in season 3. I was really able to prep myself.

One of my favorite horror movies is Jacob's Ladder. In a lot of ways I felt like that was what was happening to him. He was having these weird visions. He was on his way to death. He's got this undeniable relationship with the Necronomicon. Then, in season 3, we really get to see him try to battle that relationship and to try to become a hero.

This season has some new blood with Ash’s daughter [played by Arielle Carver-O’Neill] and Dalton [Lindsay Farris]. How was it for you on set to interact with these new actors who have no idea what they signed up for?

Ray Santiago: It was really nice to have some newbies to take some blood because I love getting covered in blood, I love my job, but man it was nice to have a couple more days off. Arielle [Carver-O'Neill] really works every day. She worked the most out of everybody this season.

Also, it was really beautiful to see it through their eyes, and go to New York Comic-Con with them and watch the pilot episode this season with them. I have some new books to play with in New Zealand. Also, with the characters it was really nice to have the dynamics that we created because I don't trust Dalton. He shows up with the woman I've been pining for, for the last two seasons. There is a very creative and machismo dynamic between the two of us. It was really nice to have Arielle because it was like, “Oh, maybe Pablo will use her to make Kelly jealous.” New friends are always welcomed on Ash vs Evil Dead because we all get to share the blood splatter.

Speaking of Comic-Con, I wanted to talk a little bit about the fan reaction to Pablo and Kelly. I think that when the series first started, obviously there was skepticism, like, “Who are these new characters?” Now fans care about them as much as they care about what happens to Ash himself throughout this season.

Ray Santiago: Well, the truth is that it's really interesting because no one in this fighting squad can really exist anymore and succeed without each other. Ash is the muscle. Kelly is the brains. Pablo is the heart. Together, we're this ultimate monster-fighting squad.

Going out and meeting the fans has been amazing because as a kid I was a huge horror fan. I loved Buffy. I loved Freddy Krueger. I loved Michael Myers. We didn't really have the opportunity to interact with these people because that was the time. Now with social media and conventions, I'm on the other side of it. I get to see the joy that we bring to these people. Nothing compares to the face of a fan when you meet them for the first time. When they say, “You inspired me to do XYZ because of this episode.”

Our show is pretty funky and fun and silly, but it does have its way of changing people's lives and reaching people, especially in a world where I'm a Latino actor. Pablo is an undocumented immigrant who's trying to make it as a hero and make his mark on the world. It's important. I realize that people are really touched by the character and what he stands for and what he's fighting for. To be able to interact with them, it really just feeds you. You go to these cons and it might be exhausting, but there is something about being able to meet your fans when you go to these things that really is worth more than the paycheck and everything that you do because you really do have an impact on them.

I'm so thankful that our loyal fans were so open to accepting Dana [DeLorenzo] and I, and also the characters that we created on this rendition of Ash. It's really an honor to be a part of the Evil Dead franchise and to look at it like this. It's been around for so many years. 10, 20 years from now, other people will be watching and we will be part of that generation. We've diversified the franchise in a really beautiful way that will live forever. It's been pretty tight. It's been pretty awesome.

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