Making his debut in The Evil Dead, Campbell's Ashley Joanne "Ash" Williams is the sole survivor of a horrific supernatural disturbance in an abandoned cabin in the woods, where the demons trapped within the cursed Necronomicon Ex-Mortis claimed the lives of his sister, girlfriend, and friends. Despite facing the horrors of the cabin, Ash grew into an unlikely hero, facing demons, Deadites, and undead doppelgängers in the Middle Ages and modern America with nothing but a chainsaw-arm, a shotgun, quick wit, and bravery. While he is a beloved figure and a horror film icon, Campbell retired from playing Ash in November 2021, and while the series is set to continue with a fifth feature-length outing in Evil Dead Rise, the new movie doesn't center on his legacy character.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant during San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Campbell reveals that he wouldn't like to see a new actor portray Ash. The actor feels recasting Ash would be a boring possibility, as well as unfair to a newcomer to the franchise. Instead, Campbell says he would prefer the series to expand on previously established story details, branching out to follow new characters in new situations, and uses Evil Dead Rise's protagonists as an example. Check out Campbell's comment below.
No, that'd be a bore. You don't want to do that. I wouldn't want to put an actor through that. Because now the Evil Dead movies are really more about the books. There's three books that we learned about 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.
Campbell previously explained why he retired Ash in November 2021, when he also explained his role in shaping the future of Evil Dead. With physical limitations a factor, the actor explained that moving beyond Ash would play a role in deciding the future of the franchise, which he wanted to escape being trapped in a "traditional" structure. Despite no longer physically portraying the character, Campbell emphasized that he and original director Sam Raimi were still keen on having involvement in creating new Evil Dead stories. He cited Raimi's decision to recruit new directors like Evil Dead (2013)'s Fede Alvarez and Evil Dead Rise's Lee Cronin as ways in which they would shape the future of the franchise.
While Campbell hopes an Evil Dead animated series could see him voice Ash once more, it is clear from his recent comments that the character's fate in live-action is sealed. Though fans may miss the undead-slaying, boomstick-wielding S-Mart employee, it is clear Campbell would not want to burden a younger star with the pressures of taking on such a beloved role. While the Evil Dead franchise is set to grow beyond Ash and the cabin, the character is sure to have an enduring place in horror film history.