Ash vs Evil Dead season 2 teaser

Starz presented a panel for season two of Ash vs Evil Dead, their series based on the Evil Dead films. Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless and producer Robert Tapert spoke with reporters in roundtables, where Tapert stated that the current focus is to produce more seasons of the TV series. However, success means a fourth movie is more likely down the line than it would have been without a TV show.

“Yes, the focus is on more seasons of the show,” Tapert said. “Sam [Raimi], bless him, talked about doing Evil Dead as a movie for many, many years and teased the fans forever and a day. Finally when the day came, we went, ‘Well, we think it might be better as a TV show.’ That was other people who thought that and Bruce really welcomed the idea and I welcomed the idea because Bruce said, ‘Look, I did three movies. I’m not certain I knew my last name so at least in a TV show I get to explore the character and who he is and all that more.’ Is there a movie out there that we are thinking about that would continue on that would merge everything? There certainly are those thoughts starting to percolate.”

Campbell, ever the showman, joined Raimi in keeping hope for a new film alive. “One feeds the other,” Campbell said. “The movies were dead. Now the TV show comes back, the movies come back to life. It’s funny how that works.” 

Season two of Ash vs Evil Dead leaves the woods for a bit to give Ash a hometown reunion. “This season it gets personal,” Campbell said. “Ash has to go back home. The Evil Dead is like the mafia, they hit you where you live. They go after your family. So he’s gonna go clean up his town of Elk Grove, Michigan. Which is why we’re introducing the character of Ash’s father, Brock Williams played by the great Lee Major and Ash’s high school buddy Chet Kaminski played by Ted Raimi. Ted plays an idiot and he’s so good at it. I always use Ted because that way my acting looks subtle.”

Brock Williams is an even more outrageous version of Ash. He also speaks to the aftermath of Evil Dead II. “It was really a way of grounding Ash and trying to pull him back into the real world and giving him an antagonist to rub up against,” Tapert said. “Because that’s what really works about the series, Ash finding himself in a situation, finding himself blocked. What is he going to do? Dad is something, as we all know, parents are something that a lot of baggage goes into that relationship so that was really just a great antagonist in a different way. You learn hey, nobody believed him and they all blamed him for getting his sister killed and a bunch of other kids killed. Why he never went to jail, we never answer.”

Season two will also flesh out Ruby, the character played by Lucy Lawless who unleashed hell at the end of season one. “She becomes a real character this season,” Lawless said. “Particularly this season has been so massive and so high octane, the cuts are really fast. We’re shooting maybe more footage than we ever did on even Spartacus, but it’s crunched down into just a half hour to get that pace. If this show was an hour long, it would be drudgery.”

Even though Starz greenlit season two before season one aired, Campbell feels the pressure to deliver. “It’s worse actually because now there are expectations,” Campbell said. “It’s one thing to put out a show for the very first time. You close your eyes and go, ‘Okay, I hope you like it.’ You put it out and it was very well received. The fans were very nice to us and the critics were pretty nice to us too which is shocking because the Evil Dead movies don’t always get good reviews. So that was the big leap but now season two, they’re like arms crossed going, ‘Whaddaya got?’ Meaning, is it worthy of a show? Do you have enough story that you can tell? Where are you gonna go with it? Do I like the way you’re going with it? Do I like the characters you’re adding or how they’re changing? That remains to be seen but I think it’s a strong episode. I tore my hamstring. We worked our butts off this season so if you don’t like it, screw all y’all.”

Tapert also promised more intimate horror moments akin to Ash alone in the cabin in the first two films. “It’s a very hard road to walk and we get scripts that are way too big and we have to figure out how do we get the small intimate stuff, Ash alone against the evil, that’s the franchise, versus a lot of character stuff, a lot of Ruby,” Tapert said. “So how do we get all of these elements and balance them right for the ultimate audience entertainment and enjoyment. It’s the balancing act we’re constantly looking at and measuring, going throw this out, add this in.”

Ash vs Evil Dead returns September 23 on Starz.

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