The family that slays together, stays together! Ash, Pablo, and Kelly are back for Season 3 of the critically acclaimed “Ash vs Evil Dead” and, this time, they have reinforcements. Returning to Elk Grove, this 10-episode, half-hour series finds our favorite Deadite killer, Ash Williams, having gone from urban legend to hometown hero, is now a father! Pablo is an established business owner while Kelly has returned with an ominous message and a new accomplice to help them on their quest. Meanwhile, Ruby, who re-joined the side of Evil at the end of Season 2, is devising her most diabolical plan yet to defeat Ash and unleash hell on earth.
Bruce Campbell reprises his role as Ash Williams, the chainsaw-handed Deadite killer, bracing for his biggest challenge yet – being a father to a teenage daughter; Lucy Lawless returns as Ruby, who is back and has hatched a diabolical plan to defeat The Prophesied One; Ray Santiago returns as Pablo Simon Bolivar who finally achieves his goal of opening a fish & chips computer repair taco truck, only to have his bliss interrupted when Evil rears its ugly head; Dana DeLorenzo is back as Kelly Maxwell, filled with an unquenchable thirst for battling Evil; Arielle Carver-O’Neill debuts as Brandy, Ash’s longlost daughter and an apple that hasn’t fallen far from the tree; Lindsay Farris joins the cast as Dalton, leader of the Knights of Sumeria – an ancient military order tasked with destroying Evil; and Lee Majors returns as Brock William’s, Ash’s father who returns from the dead with a message from the past.
Behind the Boomstick
“Ash may be a perverted drunk with racist tendencies, but he has his moments.” This quote is quite possibly the most perfect description of the anti-hero proudly fighting off the hordes of evil since 1979 (1981). Undoubtedly fans of this iconic franchise have passionately fought to keep this franchise alive. With a potential cancellation looming over Ash’s future now is the time to beat the odds and bring this legend back from potential death. Ash is the reluctant deadbeat, blinded by foolishness or a false sense of destiny that allows his ignorance and lack of situational analysis to make quick decisions in the never-ending war against “evil.” Ash’s primal urge to survive and perhaps an ingrained notion that despite his own personal failures (which he rarely recognizes) he is the star of the grandest stage, the one who is deemed responsible for saving humanity.
Ash Williams is an iconic character, and it has been a shame that it has taken so long to resurrect his presence with Ash vs. Evil Dead. Ash is uniquely charismatic, the master of one-liners, and truly captures He is quick to look for the easy way out, has no problems sacrificing morality for pleasure yet deep down displays the classic attributes of any classical hero. Each episode of Season 3 takes the series to its limit of excess, a thrill ride, treating each show as if it was its last. Ash vs. Evil Dead has rebounded after a somewhat lukewarm Second season to create a television experience unlike any other.
Hail to the king…of hardware! In Season 3 of “Ash vs Evil Dead,” we open to find Ash Williams has gone from zero to hero in his hometown of Elk Grove, Michigan. Having conquered Evil once again, he settles into normal life and re-opens his dad’s hardware store…but with a unique twist. At the store’s grand opening, he’s confronted with unforeseen consequences from his past and is forced to step up and face the fact that he is, in fact, a father. Meanwhile, ‘happily ever after’ is not a phrase uttered in the Evil Dead world, and when the Necronomicon get its 15 minutes of fame on a televised antique show, all hell breaks loose once again.
Campbell says of Season 3, “This season the myth is going to get big. The sky is going to crack open because if we have learned anything about the Evil Dead franchise, it’s that tranquillity does not last long for Ash or anyone close to him.” Campbell continues, “We’re going off a cliff at the end of this season and we hope the fans follow us.”
“In Season 3, each character has their own unique journey,” explains Rob Tapert, the show’s executive producer. “Pablo has to fulfill his destiny that we set-up in the first season with his uncle, the Brujo; Kelly meets someone as lost as she is and finds purpose in helping them find their path; and Ash has to step up, not only as a father but as the savior of humanity. The Ruby of Season 3 is very different than the Rubys of previous seasons. In Season 2, she traveled back in time, met her evil doppelganger who then killed her and formed the most diabolical plan to destroy Ash and realize her destiny of ruling the hell on earth.”
In this series, we will be focusing on the production of Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 with exclusive content including early access reviews for upcoming episodes, production notes and exclusive interviews with cast members including the iconic Mr. Bruce Campbell!
EVOLUTION OF ASH
From Deadite killer to daddy, Ash is going through a season of character growth. Viewers will see a side of Ash they’ve never seen before in the history of the franchise. This was no easy feat for producers.
Evolving the character of Ash Williams was a journey in finding the right balance of cartoon buffoonery and live action growth as Tapert reveals, “It’d be very easy to turn Ash into Homer Simpson, but we are not a cartoon so Ash has to have growth and qualities that we expect from live-action storytelling.”
“Ash has a daughter. That’s the big bombshell in Season 3. And to me that is really cool because now you have to see a paternal side of this idiot come out and it’s just so good for his character growth,” says Campbell. “Like any good father, he’s like telling her not to swear even though he swears like a sailor. You know, he’s got a lot of bad, behavioral issues. So now he’s got to try and rise above himself a little bit.”
Campbell explains that Ash “has always been a selfish character, always thinking that the world is against him, it just kind of is in a way. He’s done just fine alone in his crappy trailer for years watching bad movies and getting wrecked.” When his daughter Brandy enters the picture in the first episode of Season 3, Ash is forced to grow up – something never attempted in the 30 years of this character’s life on the screen.” Campbell says of Arielle Carver-O’Neill who plays Brandy, Ash’s daughter, “It was important to get the casting right and Arielle is just lovely. When she was auditioning her face was very animated and I thought, well, Ash is known for his rubber face. So, it’s great to have an actress playing his spawn that has similar facial characteristics.”
Tapert says of Ash’s evolution, “The beauty of Ash as a character is that he tries as hard as he can not change. One would think he would just learn to accept that change, but he tries to hold on to his own ways – his old ways. Throughout the course of Season 3, he wants to be a dad but doesn’t really understand what that means.” Tapert continues, “Ash’s relationship with his daughter is a modern one. Brandy has to come to terms with her dad offering her drugs and alcohol and exuding bad behavior like running from the police. Her world has expanded in such a way due to Ash’s unique parental influences.” Like all parent/teenager relationships, theirs is often rocky, especially at the start, but over time she learns to trust her father because, after all, nothing is as it seems in the Evil Dead world. “Eventually they form a very strong bond through experiences the people closest to Ash are all too familiar with,” says Tapert.
Campbell continues, “Ash is of the mind, ‘I’m a crappy father but I’m also a really crappy liar. I’ve always told you the truth even if it’s the weirdest stuff.’ So that’s their bond: For all of Ash’s failures he respects his daughter enough to only tell her the truth, as bad as it sounds.”
DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL – BRANDY BARR
Like father like daughter – sort of. After unforeseen circumstances, Brandy is left to the care of Ash who isn’t winning Father-of-the-Year anytime soon. Given her situation, she relies more on a sympathetic guidance counselor who is hiding a diabolical secret. When she is introduced to the world of Evil, however, Brandy proves she’s no pushover, and, when it’s time for battle, it quickly becomes clear that this apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Like most teenagers, Brandy looks at her newly found parent with angst, disdain, and disgust. Having an urban legend as your dad could hurt your status in the high school lunchroom for sure. Throughout the season their relationship goes from tumultuous to tender as they both realize they’re cut from the same cloth.
“She’s the kind of person who needs to find things out for herself. She needs to see the evidence and make up her own mind about things that eventually take her on her journey through the show,” said Arielle Carver-O’Neill of her character. “Brandy and Ash’s relationship starts off rocky. She’s very wary around him and isn’t really sure who this guy is because all she knows is he killed his friends in a cabin years ago. He’s Ashy Slashy and now he’s a hero AND her dad? She doesn’t really get that and thinks the whole town is crazy.”
Campbell says of Ash’s dynamic with Brandy, “I come waltzing in, spouting really crazy stuff about demons and Deadites and ‘it wasn’t me, it was them, it’s their fault.’ So, the second they meet they’ve thrust into this Evil Dead world again because, you know, the demons are hot on everybody’s tail. The dynamics go from bad to worse because anyone close to me has an evil target on their back in this show.” Ash and Brandy have a long road ahead of them before they can have a normal relationship.
When Brandy can’t handle the pressures of having Ash as her dad, she turns to a trusted guidance counselor from her school, Mrs. Prevett (played by Lucy Lawless). Lawless, who stars as Ruby posing as a guidance counselor, says of her character’s relationship with Brandy, “Let’s just say, she’s the last person you want straightening out your child.” This season, Ruby’s agenda in ridding the world of Ash Williams includes gaining the trust of Ash’s only daughter and then turning her against him.
RUBY – EVIL EDITOR IN CHIEF – NECRONOMICON
Ruby is on a quest to unleash hell on earth in order to ultimately rule the realm of The Dark Ones. To do this, Ash must meet his maker, so she devises her most diabolical plan yet and summons an evil ally from centuries ago. The race is on to uncover the lost pages of the Necronomicon and to get her hands on it before The Dark Ones do.
In Season 1, we learned Ruby was the author of the Necronomicon. This season we learn that she is a Dark One banished to walk the earth in human form until she can destroy Ash and unleash her rule of hell on earth. Tapert describes Ruby’s efforts to destroy Ash: “Brandy becomes part of Ruby’s plan, along with Kelly,” in an attempt to rip apart any bonds they might have with Ash. But Ruby is running against a clock as the Knights of Sumeria, out to save mankind, are in hot pursuit, as are The Dark Ones who are determined to get their hands on the Necronomicon, destroy Ruby, and unleash their own brand of evil on humanity.
FROM SIDEKICK TO SUPERHERO – PABLO SIMON BOLIVAR
Pablo has found an inner peace in Elk Grove this season, achieving his ultimate goal of owning a fish & chips computer repair shop, and remaining an ever-faithful friend to Ash. His bliss is brief, however, as he starts to have mysterious visions warning him that Evil is coming and pleading with him to fulfill his destiny.
Ray Santiago plays Ash’s most loyal friend Pablo Simon Bolivar and says of his character, “This season something ‘especial’ is definitely going on with Pablo. He’s had a long journey these last couple of seasons. When we first met him he was this naïve young man, and by Season 3, he’s really transformed into the man that he never thought he could be. He’s not just a sidekick anymore. He’s his own hero.” Throughout the past two seasons of “Ash vs Evil Dead,” Pablo has faced death. He has been killed and been brought back to life again. He has had evil inside of him and has become one with the Necronomicon. This season Pablo learns he’s more powerful than he ever could have imagined. Santiago says, “I think Pablo’s strongest weapon is within himself. He comes to understand what that is this season – this dynamic of Pablo being good and evil and having that live within him and trying to maintain the balance.”
Tapert says of Pablo’s transformation from sidekick to a superhero, “Pablo’s journey is one that we set up in the first season – to follow in his Brujo’s footsteps and fulfill his destiny. So we were tasked with finding a story that was more personal to his character, to set him on a mission. We went back to his family roots where he’s the nephew of a Brujo who he had rejected, and then when Pablo finally accepted him, his uncle died. Due to some of the events that happen to him in the first two seasons, resulting in the Necronomicon becoming part of him, Pablo has a personal battle going on within him – akin to an addiction to evil. This is something he has to overcome, and that proves very important in the events of this season.”
Campbell says of Pablo’s journey this season, “It’s important for your demon fighting team. Pablo is now like our own personal shaman of the netherworld.”
A WARRIOR WITHOUT A WAR – KELLY MAXWELL
“Kelly has always marched to the beat of her own drum,” says Dana DeLorenzo of her gun-slinging, Deadite-killing character Kelly Maxwell, “and at the start of Season 3 she has marched her way right out of Elk Grove, leaving Ash and Pablo without so much as a fist pump.”
In the first episode of the new season, we find Kelly running a bar and giving the patrons large doses of her sarcastic wit that fans have come to love over the previous seasons. She’s a warrior without a war and now, having found a sense of normalcy, she finds herself completely out of her element. In this world, however, nothing stays normal for long.
Revenge gets the better of Kelly this season, as she sets out to destroy Ruby on her own. Tapert says of Kelly’s evolution in Season 3, “Kelly’s journey is one that fulfils her own destiny of meeting somebody else who is lost (Dalton), then being the big sister (to Brandy), and then really going for revenge and finding out, sometimes, that doesn’t work out as planned.”
Tapert continues, “Kelly becomes part of Ruby’s plan to destroy Ash and convince him to do things that he wouldn’t normally do. She becomes Ruby’s confidant and someone who helps her move Ash and Brandy in a very definite direction so that they are in conflict with each other.”
RUNNING WITH THE KNIGHTS OF SUMERIA – DALTON
This season we’re introduced to the Knights of Sumeria, an ancient order of warriors who have fought Evil through the centuries. Dalton, their leader, arrives in Elk Grove with Kelly in search of Ash so that they may join forces in the on-going battle against The Dark Ones.
For centuries, these knights have been on a mission to find Ash, “the prophesied one.” They got close once, years ago, when their previous leader tracked down Ash’s dad’s hardware store but was unfortunately met with Brock’s brute force, a cellar, and a padlock. The knight was never to be heard from again.
Ash is not used to teamwork and, after Season 2, he was finally warming to the concept of having a couple of sidekicks. But an army? Campbell summarizes, “The Knights of Sumeria have devoted their life to defeating Evil in their own way. They’ve been searching for Ash through the centuries and Kelly brings their new leader Dalton to Ash’s doorstep. He feels immediately threatened by this young, capable stud.” Eventually, Ash realizes the Knights’ knowledge of Evil may run a bit deeper than his own.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE FOR FIGHTING EVIL – PROPS
A newcomer to the “Ash vs Evil Dead” production team is Elise Kowitz (Home & Away, Return to Nims Island), who joins Season 3 as Prop Master. Her biggest challenge this year has been keeping the Necronomicon looking gruesome and alive. She says, “We tried to get a lot more variation on the cover this year. We worked hard to get all those amazing leather colors like the oranges, reds, browns, and blacks through the texture of it,” to help the book pop when it hits the screen.
Updating the infamous chainsaw is a constant task for the props department and this season Kowitz and her team created several different versions of this particular weapon. From foamy-light stunt versions to special effects pieces that shoot smoke and blood, Kowitz designs the props so you can simply “flick a switch and go!” Another version includes a retractable chainsaw so the blade will go in and out in an automatic motion allowing minimal effort on Campbell’s part when he’s going to town on an enemy.
Of all the props this season, Kowitz said her favorite and most challenging was a ducky toy for Ruby’s demon toddler. The process was tedious, she explains: “We designed the prop from scratch and I bought heaps and heaps of pull along ducky toys that we used for reference. We took pieces from all different ones and made a concept ducky toy.” They had to go through a few variations as each had their degree of defect until finally, they created the masterpiece showcased in the fifth episode. “When you pull him along, he has a lot of movement with flapping wings and a shaking head. His bill opens and closes but no sound comes out. He’s just so cute but creepy!”
The props department works hand-in-hand with the art department to ensure the Evil Dead world has just the right amount of creep factor. Of working with Nick Bassett, Kowitz says, “Nick has such a clear vision of the Evil Dead world. He’s done so much research and spent time in Michigan, so I make sure he has a lot of input into the props and sees them all so that everything integrates perfectly into the set and the environment he’s envisioned.”