The original The Evil Dead put filmmaker Sam Raimi on the map, and while the subsequent sequels never saw the same success as the blockbusters Raimi would eventually direct (The original Spider-Man trilogy, Oz the Great and Powerful), The Evil Dead 2 and The Army of Darkness would go on to attract one of horror’s most faithful cult-followings. Fans of the campy-horror series have constantly pined for more Ash, the quippy hero of the films (played by Bruce Campbell) who had a chainsaw for a hand. The legion of Dead fans were so outspoken that producers were on the verge of featuring the character as a third opponent in a Freddy Vs. Jason sequel, and when the development for that film stalled – it was turned into an official graphic novel entitled: Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash. That same demand helped encourage an Evil Dead remake, and now it looks like it will be the driving force behind getting Bruce Campbell back into his Ash-outfit, with Sam Raimi back in the directing chair for a sequel that will continue the original trilogy.
When looking at Sam Raimi’s collective body of work, it becomes obvious that the now franchise director can never stay away from his horror roots for too long. His longest time away from the genre began in the late ’90s with A Simple Plan and For Love of the Game, and ran through his gamechanging Spider-Man trilogy (although he found time to produce The Grudge and The Grudge 2 in between Spider-Man flicks). After Spider-Man 3, Raimi returned to horror in a big way with Drag Me to Hell, which grossed over $90 million dollars worldwide on a $30 million dollar budget and received much critical-acclaim (92% Fresh on RottenTomatoes and a score of 83/100 on Metacritic). After a stint producing the remake to his original Evil Dead, rumors always had Raimi coming back to the series in a directing capacity.
It all began when Sam Raimi revealed that he was in the process of writing what was then called Evil Dead 4. In an interview with Empire magazine Raimi was quoted as saying:
Every time I’m with my brother Ivan, we write another page of it. It’s in Detroit and in my garage…There’s some dialogue. Ash being an idiot. Ash taking some abuse. Some character stuff and then some structure of Act Two. Just other possibilities for things that could happen. It’s ideas, jokes, things we’d like to see.
Then, despite the commercial success of (but mixed critical reaction to) Oz the Great and Powerful this year, Raimi stated that he wouldn’t be returning for a sequel to Oz. When his long-time producer Robert Tapert was asked about any new Evil Dead, Tapert told the press:
Sam threatens this every six months. I’ve heard this a thousand times, because in the back of his mind, he never wants to let go, because he loved making these movies. We all loved making them together. They were a nightmare to make, very difficult, but they lasted the test of time, so he’s not going to let that go, and I’m never going to say ‘no.’ It’ll be me and a walker fighting some other old guy. But that’s what he does and who knows? It may happen.
Since then, the remake to his original Evil Dead was released and found some success. Plans have already been set in motion for Fede Alvarez, the remake’s director, to helm a sequel – spawning a new continuity, and possibly a new trilogy. Despite that fact, Alvarez was asked on Twitter who would direct Army of Darkness 2, to which he responded, “Sam Raimi will!” The possibility of continuing the original series while expanding on the reboot is somewhat of a first as far as movie franchises go, the closest example of another instance of this happening is Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past which is a sequel to what was thought to be a reboot of his original X-Men trilogy. Fede Alvarez and star Bruce Campbell are both adamant about a seventh film to the series which would tie together both the original Evil Dead series and Alvarez’s reboot.
It’s a messy continuity, but if there is any fictional universe where storytelling this sporadic could still find a continuity, it’s the Evil Dead universe. With its supernatural time-traveling elements through portals from hell, a possible discovery of a parallel universe would be fitting for the Evil Dead world.