Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. At the SXSW screening everybody was surprised by the big surprise at the very end of the credits. I had a chance to talk with Bruce Campbell, Fede Alvarez and Jane Levy about it, but didn’t want to throw that info out there until the movie had come out so I didn’t ruin anybody’s good time.
So, if you accidentally clicked on this and don’t want to know about what happens at the end of the credits now’s the time to click away ‘cause we’re about to talk about that shit.
LAST CHANCE! LOOK AWAY!
Are they gone? Good. Let’s get down to it.
UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention by readers who attended this weekend's that Bruce never does read the Knowby material and that the whole "call me" isn't accurate. That is very possible (matter of fact, it's probable) as when I watched this particular bit I was halfway out the door in order to make a midnight screening. The crowd started going nuts, so I turned around and saw Bruce onscreen. The roar of the crowd was massive and obscured the sound. I thought it was Bruce saying something about calling him, but it could very well have been Knowby finishing his recording. He does say something about the deadites are sure to "come calling for me."
Thankfully most of the article isn't changed by my dumb ears and excited misinterpretations. The rumors I've been hearing of a combined universe are very real from very real sources and the quotes from those involved haven't changed. Sorry to Miss Levy for misreporting the stinger to her and to you guys for getting that part wrong.
I've left the original article as is, just go in knowing I mucked that part up. My opinion that we're going to see Ash return in the very near future hasn't changed.
So you stayed through the credits and started smiling when Professor Knowby’s translation of the book of the dead starts being read. That’s a nice nod, I thought. Then as the reading went on I went “That voice isn’t Knowby’s… wait, is that…?” and sure enough it became apparent that it was none other than Bruce Campbell reading.
Then he goes off script and starts talking about facing these monsters and should they return again, to give him a call. Suddenly Bruce is in silhouette, turns to camera and says “Groovy.”
Cue nerd audience freak out.
If it had just been Bruce saying “Groovy” then it’d be cute and that’d be that, but when he says should they return, call me… to me that promises something.
Naturally, I couldn’t interview Campbell, Alvarez and Levy without broaching this subject, so below you’re going to see their responses.
Quint: We have to talk a little bit about the stinger at the end of the movie. I didn’t expect that at all.
Bruce Campbell: Fede insisted on it. Look, people want a cameo and I can say technically you got a cameo.
Quint: So you don’t view that as a promise to the audience for a return of Ash?
Bruce Campbell: (Pause) I don’t really view it as anything. I view it as just having a little fun with the audience, that’s all. There’s no long term scheme, no three-picture future.
Quint: (laughs) So, you’re not doing the Avengers of horror?
Bruce Campbell: No.
Fair enough. I wouldn’t let it go, though and when I talked to Jane about it I quickly realized she had no idea that the stinger even existed. So, I totally spoiled it for her.
Quint: Could you see yourself ever fighting alongside Ash?
Jane Levy: (sly grin) Yeah. That would be a dream!
Quint: The stinger raises some interesting thoughts on where they might go with the sequel.
Jane Levy: Which one?
Quint: The stinger, at the end of the credits? With Bruce?
Jane Levy: I didn’t see it!
Jane Levy: I was backstage. I have no idea what you’re talking about!
Quint: During the credits they have the voiceover of who you think is Professor Nighby, the guy reading out of the Necronomicon in the original films, but as it gets closer to the end of the credits you realize it’s Bruce reading it. At the end he says something like “If they should ever return… call me.” And you see Bruce in silhouette, he turns to the camera and says “Groovy.”
Jane Levy: No!
Quint: It’s true!
Jane Levy: What is wrong with me?!? I can’t believe I missed out. That’s amazing! So that’s what all his jokes during the Q&A were about.
Quint: Bruce was pretty adamant that it was only something fun for the fans, not a promise of things to come, but Mia’s pretty kickass, we know Ash rules. You guys would make a great team, I’m just sayin’.
So while she couldn’t add any fuel to the speculation bonfire I’m intent on starting, she did seem incredibly excited at the possibility of Mia and Ash teaming up.
Lastly, and perhaps most interestingly, is writer/director Fede Alvarez. He’s writing the sequel as we speak and when I pressed him on the stinger his response was to try a little dodge, talking about when cameos work and when they don’t. I pressed further, though, and his response to that is the most promising of all of them.
Quint: So, do you see the Evil Dead sequel having more comedy elements to it or do you want to move away from the same tone as the first Evil Dead 2?
Fede Alvarez: Right now it’s Sam, Bruce, Rob, my co-writer Rodo (Sayagues) and myself discussing that. We have to decide where we’re going to go. I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do.
Quint: Besides, obviously, getting Bruce in the movie. After that stinger you kind of have to. You sneaky monkey.
Fede Alvarez: (laughs) I lied to people’s faces.
Quint: Jane didn’t even know about it! I just told her.
Fede Alvarez: Nobody knew about it. I made Bruce lie, but he was actually for real because he had never shot a cameo, so he could say “I haven’t shot a cameo.” When it got to a point where I knew everybody was convinced there wasn’t a cameo, that’s when I did it. For me if everybody was waiting for the cameo there was no point to do it. I knew that if it was going to be awesome it had to be a surprise. They used to be like that, cameos. Remember? Now it’s this thing that is a must, people demand it and it sucks. That’s why we did it that way.
Quint: But see… the way you frame the cameo, with him saying “if they come back, call me” you’re kind of promising Bruce returning as Ash. At least people are going to read it that way. I did.
Fede Alvarez: I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no.
Quint: I’m just saying… Jane lost her left hand, Ash lost his right… they’re kind of a perfect fit. A yin and a yang.
Fede Alvarez: (Smiles) I wish I could tell you what we’re doing.
”I wish I could tell you what we’re doing.” If that isn’t a non-denial I don’t know what is.
If you read the full interview with Fede you’ll know we talked about the sequel and how it’s going to be a different tone than the first, much in the same way that Evil Dead 2 was a much different tone than The Evil Dead. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Ash return in a meaningful way.
I’d heard scattered rumors after Evil Dead wrapped that the producers and studio were very happy with what they were seeing and talk of merging the Raimi Evil Deads and Alvarez’s universe was starting to swirl.
Bruce has always said that the box office failures of the Evil Dead films were the main thing stopping an Evil Dead 4 from happening. Sam wanted to do one, Bruce wanted to do one, the fans wanted it, but despite Evil Dead's huge success on video, the box office numbers kept a possible Evil Dead 4 from happening.
No matter how they end up doing it, whether is a merging of both universes or Raimi does a stand-alone sequel to Army of Darkness I couldn’t tell you, but considering the monetary success this weekend I can all but guarantee we’ll see Ashley J. Williams on the big screen at least one more time.