Bruce Campbell On No Longer Playing Evil Dead’s Ash And How Sam Raimi’s Franchise Will Continue

Bruce Campbell as Ash in Ash vs. Evil Dead
(Image credit: Starz)

There’s some good news, and there’s some not-so-good news for B-movie horror fans, as Bruce Campbell talks Evil Dead. The good is that there’s another addition to the Evil Dead franchise coming with Campbell involved per usual, but just not in an acting sense. With this, the horror icon is opening up about retiring the role of Ash Williams and how Sam Raimi's franchise is going to move forward now that he's no longer taking up the chainsaw.

There have been plenty of projects to come out of the OG Evil Dead, like Army of Darkness, Ash vs. Evil Dead, which did feature Bruce Campbell in his iconic role, and 2013’s Evil Dead remake, which only featured Campbell as a producer. There have also been proposed projects that ultimately never saw the light of day, too. Both AoD and the 2013 remake were apparently supposed to get sequels that never came to pass, much to the dismay of the franchise's loyal fanbase.

Not to fret, though, because apparently the franchise has plenty of blood left in its veins. In an interview with Collider, Bruce Campbell provided great insight into the future of the franchise and the creative desire to keep things going, even without him in front of the camera as Ash (although his voice may be a different story). Here is what the B-movie king himself says, exactly:

I’m done playing Ash, so that determines a lot of where we go with the franchise without that character, but there are more stories. We’re doing it book-focused these days. That darn book gets around, and that’s how we play it. That book wound up in an urban environment with a single mom, so let’s see what happens. It’s fun to fiddle with it. There’s not gonna be any traditional form of Evil Dead anymore. Ash is gone. I’ve retired the character because I physically just can’t do him anymore, so why bother? Why do I do it? It’s time to hang up the chainsaw. But we still are filmmakers, we’re still producers, we’re still creative-type dudes, so we were like, “How do we keep this going otherwise?” Sam handpicked Fede Alvarez to do the remake a few years ago. He handpicked Lee Cronin for this one. These are Sam Raimi proteges that we hope will do a good job.

The character may have been the lifeblood of the franchise back in the ‘80s and ’90s and is still beloved today, but it looks like the Book of the Dead is going to be the star of the franchise moving forward. And honestly, it's such a brilliant move. I’m happy to say that with the book being the source of storylines in the future, the Evil Dead franchise could basically go on forever with fresh ideas.

The downside, of course, is that Bruce Campbell won’t be returning to the screen. Still, that doesn’t mean we won’t see him on screen making a little cameo here and there on future projects. In fact, it may free him up to some other awesome supporting roles in the future of the franchise. Plus, it'll be interesting to see what he continues to bring to the storied horror series from behind the camera.

Evil Dead Rise is the next addition to the franchise and will follow these new rules that Bruce Campbell has laid out. He and Sam Raimi are both on board for the film, but playing the producer (plus writer for Raimi) role. Filming on the blood-filled movie has wrapped, and we can expect the film to go straight to streaming on HBO Max sometime in 2022. Even though we won’t be graced with Campbell’s Ash in any of the future projects, it’s still great to know that the films will continue to have his touch.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.