Why Evil Dead Rise Should Include Reboot and Starz! Canon, Characters
The road for Evil Dead has been quite a wild one since the Sam Raimi original in 1981. With four sequels and a TV series, there's plenty of canon and characters that director Lee Cronin can use in addition to the primary stars he's featuring with Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan. It would be a shame to waste such an opportunity. Before we go any further, let's get a refresher into the franchise.
The horror dark comedy spawned two theatrical sequels starring Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II in 1987 and the more comedic-leaning Army of Darkness in 1992. Its continued relevance spawned several comic and video game adaptations that continued the adventures of Ashley "Ash" J Williams further into the depths of his fight against the deadite threat. Transcending its cult status, Raimi and Campbell trusted the 2013 soft reboot in the hands of director Fede Álvarez featuring a new protagonist in Mia, played by Jane Levy. Following the film's success, Starz! brought Campbell back into his iconic role for one last live-action hurrah in the TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead that directly continued the character's adventures in 2015 before its cancelation in 2018. While Campbell announced his live-action retirement from the role, he's returning to produce the upcoming fifth film directed by Cronin.
With recent casting additions announced with Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, and Nell Fisher, the story takes the action away from the cabin and into the city. This is a good idea since Army of Darkness and AVED show how the franchise CAN work outside a cabin setting. I have faith that Cronin knows what he's doing since Raimi and Campbell trusted him as they did Álvarez to great success. As hyped up as the film is, it's understandable that things will be played close to the chest, but there are tons of existing characters that can help build on to the story that the fans would appreciate. First, let's just state the obvious that AVED stars Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Arielle Carver-O'Neill should play some part one way or another, either during or a tease at the end. The aforementioned play Pablo, Kelly, and Brandy, who fought alongside Ash during the TV series.
According to the canon from Ash vs. Evil Dead, Ash is stuck in the future, but his two companions and daughter are very much alive. At the very least, it can provide closure for the characters they never got from the finale. Also, if I were New Line Cinema, Raimi, and Campbell, I would make a hard push to bring back Levy into the fold as a surprise. If she truly is not interested in fronting the franchise, give Mia a proper send-off at least. Not to sound like an opportunist, but the cancelation of her NBC musical series Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist should free her up to do something for the film. Give the fans something direct to help boost this latest film. Evil Dead Rise comes to HBO Max in 2022.