Following the news coming from Starz that there would not be a fourth season of Ash Vs. Evil Dead on the premium cable network, Bruce Campbell made it official that he was retiring as Ash, writing Monday on Facebook, “Good people, Evil Dead fans everywhere, I bid you a heartfelt farewell playing Ash — the character I took acting lessons with for 39 years.
“I am hereby retiring from that portrayal. It’s time. I followed Ash from his formative years thru his mid-life crisis and decline. What a thrill! What a privilege!” Campbell wrote.
The news of his retirement means Sunday’s series finale of Ash vs Evil Dead will be the last fans ever see of Campell’s Ash Williams, and the journey the actor began in 1981 will conclude for good. Or not. His costar Ray Santiago, speaking with Rotten Tomatoes by phone, pointed out retirement is often temporary.
“I don’t buy it,” Santiago said. “I think Ash always comes to save the day. Just give us a little bit of time. I feel like it’s like Cher, when Cher’s like, ‘This is my final performance,’ and then two years later or six months later, she’s back.”
As part of the new generation of deadite hunters, Dana DeLorenzo is also optimistic that the end isn’t really the end.
“I concur with every analogy that Ray has said,” DeLorenzo said. “Never say ‘never.’ Heroes never die and certainly, Ash Williams and his indestructible blue shirt, if that gets passed down, this could run forever and ever — that is my analogy. Ray’s can be Cher. Mine is: Let’s look at it like Bruce’s hero uniform. If that blue shirt can last for 30 plus years after all its been through, then I feel like so can this show and so can this franchise.”
Starz’s series gave Ash some allies in Kelly Maxwell (DeLorenzo) and Pablo Simon Bolivar (Santiago). Pablo looks up to Ash and calls him “El Jefe.” He even came up with the team name “Ghost Beaters,” and it stuck with fans even though Ash and Kelly hated it.
If Campbell doesn’t pull a Cher and come out of retirement, there could be a passing of the torch to the Ghost Beaters to continue adventures in a film or other format.
“Ash is retired, so it would certainly lead us to believe that he’s opening up the throne for grabs,” Santiago said. “If El Jefe is no longer with us, would the Ghost Beaters go on to fight evil and fulfill his destiny? Absolutely. Would we come back, Dana and I, to the Scooby gang in a different way? I think we absolutely would. That would be something that would be fantastic and is not off the table.”
Evil Dead fans just don’t take no for an answer. No matter how final the series finale appears to be, fans still hope a streaming service can save Ash Vs. Evil Dead, or just go ahead and make Evil Dead 4.
“I know a lot of fans have been clamoring for [us to take over] or even bringing in Jane Levy from the 2013 remake,” DeLorenzo said. “I would say, ‘Why not?’ For sure. I can’t say yes or no. I haven’t heard anything either way, but I’m open to it. Maybe in another 30 years, you’ll see Pablo and Kelly alive and well, having their dance.”
Even if there had been a season 4, the finale was set to change the course of the franchise forever. Perhaps that will stoke demand for an Evil Dead 4. If not, it’ll be a hell of a place to leave Ash and the gang.
“We wrap it up, but nothing will ever be the same,” DeLorenzo said. “It’s actually very appropriate [to end here], because out of all the season finales, this one in particular goes off the rails in the best way that totally changes where this would go if there was another season. Now that we know there’s not, it’s like, ‘Wow, OK, now that’s an ending.’ We won’t leave you hanging. We won’t cut to black where you don’t know what’s happening.”
Ash has been the same old idiot for decades. Maybe the moment he grows even a little is the moment he should retire.
“You don’t want to change him too much because we love him,” DeLorenzo said. “This finale, I love that there is some real emotion from him, from all the characters, but I just love — because Ash Williams never shows emotion — I love that we get to see that little bit of a new layer with him in the final moments.”
So if there is an Evil Dead 4 one day, it would end up a very different movie based on the series finale.
“I certainly was really excited about it, because the way that it ends opens it up for a really great fourth season or different movie,” Santiago said. “Do we tie things up? Yes. Is there a possibility that we could ever pick up where we left off if the franchise were to make another movie with the Scooby gang? Absolutely. Would things be different? Absolutely. Do we set it up in a way that we’ve never explored before? Absolutely.”
Maybe fans should wait and see who survives Ash Vs. Evil Dead on Sunday. The final confrontation between Ash and the forces of evil looks like it will have some casualties on both sides.
“It was a war zone,” DeLorenzo said. “They were blowing up blank cannons. I had earplugs in and I would ruin shots from the sidelines because I would scream.”
Santiago hinted at some bittersweet moments himself.
“I think we all story of try to be a hero on the show and for Pablo, that comes full circle,” Santiago said. “Is there going to be some sadness in this finale? Absolutely.”
Kelly and Pablo were sort of the Evil Dead version of Ross and Rachel. While they were fighting deadites, there was a whole will they/won’t they thing going on. Even when they kissed, Pablo got possessed and Kelly got killed. The actors promise some romantic satisfaction in the finale.
“It is done in such an Evil Dead way,” DeLorenzo said. “So I’m smiling because when you see it, you’ll know exactly what I’m implying.”
Again, whatever fulfillment Kelly and Pablo find only made Santiago more excited about the potential of a fourth season.
“I will say that we definitely get what we want from Pablo and Kelly this season,” Santiago said. “I was really excited for potentially what would happen in season 4. I was really hoping for a little Pablo baby that had Pablo hair with Kelly’s voice. There was this idea of little weird demon Pablo-Kelly baby that came up in the makeup trailer.”
Horror fans are going to see Santiago again soon in Blumhouse’s Hulu anthology series. He’ll be in the pilot revolving around Halloween.
DeLorenzo’s upcoming projects are still in the works, so she couldn’t say. In the meantime, her previous series Impress Me is now on Amazon Prime and her movie The Mad Ones is available on VOD.
The series finale of Ash Vs. Evil Dead airs Sunday night on Starz.