Bruce Campbell’s boomstick shall boom no more. Following last Friday’s announcement that Sunday’s “Ash vs. Evil Dead” Season 3 finale would actually be the series finale of the Starz horror-comedy, the actor who played the survivor/hero at the center of the “Evil Dead” franchise since 1981 has announced that he’s officially retired from playing the character.
Campbell originally responded to the cancellation by tweeting his appreciation for everyone involved, calling Ash Williams “the role of a lifetime”:
Ash Vs Evil Dead has been the ride of a lifetime. Ash Williams was the role of a lifetime.
I will always be grateful to Starz, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and our tireless fans for the opportunity to revisit the franchise that launched our careers. Thank you! 😎 pic.twitter.com/oNmTopS1Ab
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) April 20, 2018
But Monday afternoon, when horror site Bloody Disgusting encouraged fans of the show to petition Netflix for another season, Campbell made it clear that he was saying goodbye to Ash: “Big props to fans for the effort, but I’m retired as Ash. #timetofrysomeotherfish”
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) April 23, 2018
This doesn’t mean that “The Evil Dead,” like so many other franchises before it, is completely dunzo as a property — never say never ever, these days. But Campbell’s unique blend of goofy humor and leading man gravitas made him an iconic part of the franchise and a hero within fan communities, and as we learned with the 2013 attempt at a remake, an “Evil Dead” adventure without Campbell as the star just isn’t the same.
In an interview with IndieWire prior to the lead-up to Season 3, Campbell said at the time that the “Ash vs. Evil Dead” team were optimistic about prospects for a Season 4. “We’re hoping with [previous seasons] coming out on Netflix that the awareness factor went up a great deal,” he said.
But they also went into Season 3 making sure that it would leave fans with closure. “I think it’s good to have your story conclude, [an ending] that does button up and does seal up everything. I think that’s important,” he said. “Fans are not going to get screwed — they’re going to get a good ending.”
One big change made in Season 3 was the addition of Arielle Carver-O’Neill as Ash’s daughter Brandy, a choice dictated by the terms of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” being a TV series. “As you round out characters in a movie, you can have a character be a little more two-dimensional. But if you’re going to make a TV show, you’re stuck with that character for episode after episode, potentially year after year,” he said. “So I think you have to evolve with them and by throwing a daughter in there, I thought it was just a good call because it brings out a sensitive side that you never knew that he really had.”
IndieWire reached out to Campbell’s representation for comment on what he has in store next, and will update this post accordingly. But one thing we’d encourage him to pursue — a plan for creating low-budget films within the studio system. As he explained it to us:
“I would convince each studio to give up one $200,000,000 movie. Give me the $200,000,000 and I’ll make 100 $2,000,000 movies. Half will suck. Another 25 percent will be just OK. One will be a timeless classic, and five will make them make the rest of the money to pay for everything else.”
Sounds like a good plan.
“Ash vs. Evil Dead” Season 1-2 are streaming now on Netflix. Season 3 is available through Starz.