Evil Dead Rise Director Explains Why Sequel Avoided Ash vs. Evil Dead Mythology (Exclusive)

From movies to TV series to comics to video games, the world of Evil Dead has a dense and sprawling mythology, which features all manner of monsters and time travel. With Evil Dead Rise, filmmaker Lee Cronin opted to keep to the core concept of just the original trilogy of films from Sam Raimi, which meant avoiding the inclusion of elements introduced in Ash vs. Evil Dead. While this might confuse and disappoint some fans of the franchise, given that some stories have seen Ash Williams cross over into the Marvel Universe, Cronin clearly wanted to keep his story a bit more straightforward and less convoluted. Evil Dead Rise lands in theaters on April 21st.

"Giving you a really candid answer, I intentionally didn't pay any heed to the television series, even though I'm a big fan of it and a big fan of everything," Cronin confirmed with ComicBook.com. "I really was just looking at the canon within the movies, that's where my focus was. From that point of view, it's not impossible equally that the story in Ash vs. Evil Dead is taking place somewhere else without an awareness in terms of my story. For me, it's actually quite simple, and I went to Sam Raimi and said, 'There's three books as shown in Army of Darkness. You've used one book, [Evil Dead 2013 director] Fede [Álvarez] used one book. I'm going to take the third book and open up that other avenue.' Sam really liked that idea because at least it drew a line between the existence of this third book and its appearance in this story in Evil Dead Rise back in time. So there is that connection there."

He continued, "I look at it in terms of Sam's movies, you've got 1 and 2 followed by 3, which is back in time but on that same stretch of timeline. Then you jump forward to 10 years ago, you've got Fede's movie and then you jump another 10 years forward and you've got this movie. So to me, they're in a straight line, and it's referenced in the movie by the priest, Littleton, on the vinyl and his awareness that they found one of the three Books of the Dead. They're aware of the lore, but this particular book, we don't know where it's appeared in the past and it's certainly been locked away for many, many years until this point in time when it appears post-earthquake and when Danny uncovers it. So to me, it's happening not alongside, it's just happening in the here and now, but everything that's happened before could also have happened and taken place."

In addition to introducing a variety of new and compelling characters, the TV series also introduced some new elements to the mythology, such as the book being able to replicate itself. Despite the exciting nature of that concept, Cronin aimed to keep things more streamlined.

In regards to the events of that storyline, Cronin expressed his reason for avoiding it by noting, "For a very simple reason, just a really basic boring thing. When TV runs for three seasons, everything goes and everything's poured in there, so I needed to more look at it inside the close narrative canon of the movies."

Evil Dead Rise lands in theaters on April 21st.

Do you wish the movie included more elements from other projects? Let us know in the comments or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!