'Army of Darkness' Not Canon To 'Ash vs Evil Dead'

Ash vs Evil Dead

Right after the trailer for Ash vs Evil Dead dropped I had a few questions regarding certain items that seemed out of place  or all together missing. First was the metal hand that Ash built when he went back in time. It wasn't there and in its place is a beat up wooden and leather hand. Then when he tells the story of his hand and why evil follows him, he never mentioned going back to medieval times, you would think that would be a huge part of said story. Then finally the lack of S-Mart, which is now replaced by Value Stop. The Value Stop is when I decided to look into this idea that they would completely drop one of the coolest sequels from Ash lore. What I found really sucks, but it isn't Bruce, Rob or Sam's Fault. No, this all has to do with Universal Studios and Rights Issues.

Before I get into my Universal rant and explain that whole debacle, let me give you a quote from an interview with Bruce Campbell about Ash vs Evil Dead and it's relationship to Army of Darkness:

Ash Vs. Evil Dead doesn’t really exist in the exact same universe as Army of Darkness. It’s a slightly altered universe. It takes place somewhere in an alternate universe after Evil Dead 2. That might seem like a confusing answer. I don’t want to spoil too much for the audience, but that’s the truest answer I can give. We would be seeing similar locations, meaning it lives in a modern day world with Ash battling evil in this era, the modern day. Ash went through that [Army of Darkness] experience, but we’re not really referencing it in terms of we’re not referencing specifics from that film.

Well that threw me for a loop, so I had to dig through my brain for a second and realized why Army of Darkness isn't referenced in the new series. If you listen to the commentaries on all the Evil Dead films you will learn that Bruce, Sam and Rob own the character of Ash and the name Evil Dead outright. No one can make an Evil Dead movie or Ash movie without the consent of those three. But the actual footage of each film is split between different companies [hence the different recaps on part 2 and 3].  Now things get tricky because the last film they made with the character of Ash was Army of Darkness with Universal and to reference anything in that film would require Universal approval. Which would also, I assume, entitle them to some of the shows profits or a flat fee for using elements from "their" film.

Renaissance Pictures produced all three film, but was just a co-producer on Army of Darkness. Part 1 shared the footage right with New Line and Part 2 shared production with De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, but Sam released the film through Rosebud Releasing Corporation (A corporation that doesn't exist and was just made up to release the film in theaters). I hope that makes sense to everyone and sort of explains why the rights are split up, but if it doesn't just blame Universal. It's probably easier that way.

Now what does all that mean for Ash vs Evil Dead? Well that depends on the fans. This can only go one of two ways for Evil Dead fans. One they can over look the fact that Army of Darkness is not canon to the show and realize that it boils down to a rights issue. And say "who cares we get to see Ash back on the screen in a completely new story". Or fans could throw a huge fit and not support the show simply because their "Fav of the 3" is no longer canon and thus screwing up any chance of a second season.

I wrote this so you, the fans, don't go in and cry foul right off the bat. I'm hoping that by having this knowledge you will have enough time to "get over it" and be siked that Ash is back regardless of the fact that Army of Darkness is no longer canon.

 I personally fall with that first camp and, although hard, will just get over the fact that this is set in a universe where Army of Darkness never happened. But can you?  Let me know below.

UPDATE 10/26/15: I wrote this back in July and now I have Bruce Campbell saying the exact same thing in an interview this week with Collider. Check it out:

UPDATE 12/12/16: Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Original Ending SPOILERS

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