Evil Dead Rise: Change in Book of the Dead Lore Leaves Door Open for Bruce Campbell Return
In Rise, the fateful reading occurs via vinyl records found by teen Danny (Morgan Davies), who plays a recording from a priest who dabbles in paranormal search. While the recording follows the usual path of reading cursed phrases, it also throws in a surprising tidbit: the researcher tells his audience of fellow clergymen that he’s holding not the Book of the Dead, but one of the three Books of the Dead. In other words, the events in Rise do not negate those in other Evil Dead movies but instead occur alongside them.
Evil Dead Rise director Lee Cronin admitted to Den of Geek he got the idea from a shot in Army of Darkness, in which Ash finds the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis alongside two other books. In his head canon, this pointed to three different Books: the Naturom Demonto, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and the Book of the Dead.
Rise involves the last of those three, which Cronin called the “bastard cousin” of the other two, thanks to its Celtic, instead of Sumerian or Egyptian, aspects. “They might have slightly different edges to them in terms of what they can do, and there’s a little subtle change or two to the incantations,” Cronin explained. More importantly, the three books “open up the door for more Evil Dead stories moving forward by changing it up.”
Indeed, the existence of three books means that Ash dealt with one book in his movies and TV series, Mia dealt with another in 2013’s Evil Dead, and that the characters in Rise dealt with the third. This paves the way for something of an Avengers: Infinity War of Evil Dead, teaming Mia and the Rise survivors with the original Deadite killer, Ashley J. Williams.
Immediately, one might raise objections on the grounds of tone. Where the first Evil Dead was certainly a gnarly bit of business, the second took full advantage of Campbell’s willingness to play the buffoon. By the time we get to Ash vs Evil Dead, the title character is a doofus who releases the Deadites by getting high and reading the incantation to impress a girl. Contrast that to the far more relentless 2013 movie and even the chatty Deadites from Rise. Outside of the shared experience of fighting book-inspired monsters, the three don’t seem to have much in common.
But Ash has found himself in even more unlikely places, particularly in comic book pages. Not only has Ash dropped by the Marvel Universe (fun fact: the Marvel Zombies are in fact Deadites spread by Sentry) and paired with Barack Obama, but he also participated in a story that almost came to theaters: Freddy vs Jason vs Ash.