The role seemed like another Campbell cameo in a Raimi film, but it has far-reaching consequences, if the veteran actor's three-picture deal with Marvel Studios is anything to go by. It also has ignited the fanbase, resulting in a Marvel Legends figure being commissioned and a game of whack-a-mole that delighted passersby at this year's Comic-Con.
Speaking of San Diego Comic-Con, Screen Rant had the chance to speak to Campbell there about his roles in both impressive franchises, his long-standing friendship with Raimi, and what's to come in Evil Dead Rise - on which he serves as executive producer.
Screen Rant: Not only has the Evil Dead franchise been going on for so long, but now you've added the MCU!
Bruce Campbell: Well, the MCU just finally caught up with me. Because I've turned them down for so many of these big parts. And they said, "How about a small part instead?" I go, "You know what? That's what I'm looking for."
Was Sam Raimi directing a part of that?
Bruce Campbell: That does help. I tend to say yes when Sam wants to do something, yes.
Have you played Pop-a-Poppa with yourself?
Bruce Campbell: I did. It was very disturbing. I don't want any part of it.
But do you want more small parts in the MCU? Pizza Poppa is only one universe, there could be more...
Bruce Campbell: I have to stop you and correct you. If he's in one of these universes, then he's in all.
Exactly! What do you think he's doing in the others?
Bruce Campbell: Well, I have a three picture contract with Marvel. I think you're going to find out, but I can't legally talk about it. But don't think of the Pizza Poppa as a pizza vendor—that would be a big mistake in interpreting these characters. You'd be selling yourself very short. It's a building block; It's not a cameo.
What went into even just playing the building blocks? How did you approach that?
Bruce Campbell: I approached it with the knowledge that I was delaying him from where he had to go. Which will probably have some ramifications. Maybe not in this universe, but maybe in another one.
You've obviously worked with Sam Raimi for so long. How have you kept that partnership building?
Bruce Campbell: He's become, in the last 20 years, a big Hollywood director since he did the first Spidey. And the crews are usually very surprised at how we trash talk each other. Like constantly.
They get weirded out when I trash talk him, because they're like, "Did he just say that to Sam Raimi?" They don't really know our relationship. So, it's been very entertaining to stun the crew. And they also wonder why he's being so mean, all of a sudden.
Now, with Evil Dead—I know you've said before that you were done, but you're still on for the game.
Bruce Campbell: Yeah, I'm not done with the voice. We were even talking about an animated series that would continue where the TV show left off. Because you can do him going into the future, and you can do that a lot easier through animation. Ash as a character is not necessarily dead.
Could you see Ash played by other people?
Bruce Campbell: No, that'd be a bore. You don't want to do that. I wouldn't want to put an actor through that. And because now the Evil Dead movies are really more about the books. There's three books that we learned in Army of Darkness. There's three books out there, and they pop up in the darndest places. The new Evil Dead Rise movie is an urban setting, about a single mom. So, the apartment is the cabin, if you will.
Have you had any memorable experiences this weekend, reflecting back on what you mean to people?
Bruce Campbell: I'm mostly grateful that it's back. A lot of people missed coming to these places, and I enjoy them. I enjoy coming to them and seeing my actor buddies. I'm glad it's back.
What's next for you?
Bruce Campbell: I have about one thing a month coming up of just various things. There's four or five cons in Cincinnati. Stuff like that. So, it's a bunch of different cons.
A twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.
Catch our other MCU interviews from San Diego Comic-Con, including ones with the casts of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. as well as our previous interviews with Xochitl Gomez and Elisabeth Olsen for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now available on Digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. Meanwhile, Evil Dead Rise will be out later this year.