At the end of the month, fans will be getting the long asked for return of Ash Williams, the dim-witted slayer of deadites in the popular Evil Dead horror-comedy franchise, in Starz’s Ash Vs The Evil Dead. But in the transition from silver screen to television screen, a change in story was made.
Speaking with the press at New York Comic Con, director Sam Raimi confirmed that he had been working on a screenplay for a fourth Evil Dead film before the project mutated into its present form.
For many years my brother Ivan and I were writing an Evil Dead 4 movie, different versions of it. Some great ideas. Then we just realized that no one would really want to distribute an Evil Dead 4 movie. It would be really big. It would be another fake spectacular but it would just be too expensive. They never really made much money. Then Rob [Tappert, Raimi’s producer partner] said ‘Oh, the economics work out for TV.’ And that’s how it started.
During the panel for the show, later in the day, Raimi explained that the core idea of the screenplay he and his brother were working sprang from the fact that the last Evil Dead film, Army Of Darkness, had two very distinct endings. In one, a time-tossed makes his way back to the present day after fighting deadites in the middle ages, while in the other version, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic future.
As per ScreenCrush –
[T]their bold plan was to actually make a movie starring two Ashes, one from each of Army of Darkness’ endings. In other words, this Evil Dead 4 would have continued Ash’s journey along both possible timelines in two parallel stories: Present Ash in one, future Ash in the other.
Honestly, this sounds like a really great and exciting idea. I am reminded of when I had the chance to interview Raimi several years back for another project and at the end asked if there ever would be an Evil Dead 4. He replied by referencing a then-current popular shampoo commercial and said that given the dual endings of Army Of Darkness they would need to make two films. And each of those would have two endings. And so on and so on.
And while I am looking forward to the premier of Ash Vs The Evil Dead at the end of the month, I am a bit sad that the series comes at the expense of what Evil Dead 4 could have been.
Thanks to Joe Nazzaro for the additional reporting.