With his gore-saturated remake of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead hitting the home video market this past week, it’s not surprising that Fede Alvarez is off at Comic Con dropping hints and making vague statements about the potential ideas for a sequel. Pretty much anyone who bothered to plunk their cash down for the film when it hit theaters is likely a fan of the world and characters that Raimi and his charismatic, goofball star Bruce Campbell created with the original. The inclusion of a cheering but ultimately pointless Campbell appearance (it’s hardly a cameo since it wasn’t remotely a part of the film) during the credits was a salute to the fans but didn’t amount to much. Now, Alvarez is seemingly testing the waters at the best place in geekdom to do so, lending some momentum to those hints and tidbits we’ve been hearing since the film released; that Campbell’s Ash is out there somewhere, waiting in the wings to rejoin the Deadite fight.
What we’ve heard over the past few months is all corroborated in an interview with Bloody Disgusting, where Alvarez deflected questions of an extended cut of the film and teased around the possibility of Ash entering the second film, potentially to team up with Jane Levy’s Mia, the motley Ash analog in Evil Dead. On the topic of a director’s cut, he was particularly coy, taking the Ridley Scott Prometheus road. Alvarez told BD that “Honestly though, the version out right now IS the director’s cut. I feel it is the best cut of the movie and it’s also my favorite. We really didn’t cut much as the MPAA had us make only minimal trims, like when Jane cut her tongue in half, we could only show that for two seconds instead of three.” On the violence front, I tend to agree that he seems to have put pretty much what we wanted up there on-screen. Gore-mongers more devoted than myself may be able to notice cuts that limit the violence exposure glimpsed in the red-band trailers, but there was more than enough grue for my tastes.
What I did find lacking was a sense of humor, even pitch-black, that would have energized the movie, and of course every film needs more Bruce Campbell. Alvarez says nothing of levity, but he does admit that Campbell, and Ted Raimi, were originally going to be wedged into the first remake. “Sam immediately stepped in though and encouraged me to leave those characters alone and make my own movie and I think we benefited from that advice immensely” Alvarez explains, and reveals the motivation behind the credits easter egg with “Still, we did get the Ash character in at the very end like a hidden track on a CD and my intention with that was to let the audience know Ash is still out there and he knows what’s going on.” He also confirmed something we had been hearing abundantly, that one scripted ending had Ash and Mia meeting as early as the finale of Evil Dead; “We originally had a moment written where Ash would find Jane Levy’s character wandering the road, but it was never filmed because Bruce was unavailable.”
Finally, there was mention of what’s next for Evil Dead II, Alvarez style, and a small hint is dropped regarding something most of fandom would agree to as readily as say, Superman teaming up with Batman. The big bit to speculate on happens when Alvarez says ““For the next movie I want to continue the story laid out by my first film. I just don’t want to get five new kids and throw them into the cabin. Who knows? Maybe Jane…and Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) will meet up? Maybe Jane will be attacked in the woods and die at the beginning of the second one.” Mia might be a fresh new character—not that fresh or new, since she’s almost Ash with a bra—but the opportunity to see an ED acolyte team with the demon-fighting veteran would be a hell of a thing. Then again, Alvarez has tweaked this universe from the original, and the very fact that Mia’s ordeal so closely mirrors Ash’s does make one wonder how smoothly the two would integrate, and if the Ash who arrives in ED2 would even be exactly the same one we are familiar with. Of course, at some level, that’s exactly what Alvarez’s quote concerning a potential team-up as early as the second film (Campbell reported it wouldn’t be until a third film that such a thing might happen) ultimately relates, that anything can happen. Time to wait and see what comes about, but expect a lot of hints and teases before there’s any kind of fan satisfaction on this. Me, I’m just hoping for a sequel that can take all that dedication to the splatter and channel it to the characters, new or old.
What do you think? Is Ash joining this particular Evil Dead universe a good idea, or should Raimi and company strictly hold him for an Evil Dead 4? How much gallivanting through the woods and loping after demons does Campbell have in him, anyway?
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