There are so many exciting horror franchises returning in 2023. This includes Evil Dead in the appropriately titled Evil Dead Rise. The film releases in theaters this April and will be another reinvention of the franchise. The one thing Rise won’t have is Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams, as the actor has retired from the role given how physically demanding it became. However, that doesn’t rule out Campbell’s return in an animated capacity, and the actor has confirmed that an animated project is actively being pursued.
In an exclusive interview with Bloody Disgusting promoting Rise’s release, Campbell revealed, “All I can say is we’re actively pursuing it.” He would continue on discussing the franchise’s original director, Sam Raimi, and his role in the potential project: “Sam’s a busy guy. He had a big hit movie, so he’s got a lot on his plate, but he and his brother are actively shaping out the world. It’s one thing to get an animator and say, ‘Hey, animate this!’ You’ve got to know what you’re going to animate.” Campbell would finish off by joking,“I look forward to it, because my voice hasn’t aged as much as I have.”
The Legacy of Evil Dead
The Evil Dead was a 1981 campy horror nightmare with the simple premise of a group of ill-fated teens on a getaway at a seemingly harmless cabin in the woods. That’s where the Deadites and the modern Necronomicon were born. While unoriginal in its plot set up, Raimi’s unhinged direction and creative wit is what stole the show. Campbell’s killer commitment to the horror and practical effects/stunts only added to the franchise’s disturbingly fun allure. The series would come into its own with Evil Dead II, which took the franchise’s horror to new slapstick comedy heights, something the genre hadn’t really seen before when the sequel was released in 1987.
Evil Dead’s original trilogy would be capped off in 1992’s Army of Darkness which pushed the comedy even further with Ash being thrown into medieval times. Since then the franchise received a blood-soaked reboot in 2013. That took Evil Dead back to its pure horror roots, but Campbell would return as Ash for Ash vs Evil Dead in 2015. The series ran for three seasons and marked the final time Campbell would play the character in live-action. Campbell’s not unfamiliar with voicing the role either, as he returned as Ash in the popular multiplayer video game Evil Dead: The Game in 2022.
Evil Dead’s one of the rare horror franchises without a bad entry. Every installment of Evil Dead has at least been very good. Campbell and his counterpart Ash are such horror icons at this point that it only makes sense that the creative team behind the series would want to explore the character in other mediums. The Necronomicon offers endless undead potential, so hopefully this animated project can move forward.
When does Evil Dead Rise Release?
Evil Dead Rise releases in theaters April 21, 2023, where Campbell will return with Raimi as producers on the project. The film, directed by Lee Cronin, will follow a young family who get terrorized by the Necronomicon in a Los Angeles high rise apartment building.