Exclusive: Bruce Campbell, Rob Tapert on what to expect from Ash vs. Evil Dead before Comic-Con

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Jul 8, 2015, 12:20 PM EDT

Move over zombies, walkers, and demons. Not only are Deadites coming back to life, but Ash is back, baby. 

As if you needed a reminder from this Entertainment Weekly photo, Starz' Ash vs. Evil Dead is not only swooping in like a Deadite POV to a screen near you this fall, it's going to make a big splash at San Diego Comic-Con Friday with an all-star panel and a trailer. 

But before you eat up the gory goodness from the SDCC showing featuring Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, and Rob Tapert we've got a heaping helping of a tease to provide you. I visited the Auckland, New Zealand, set of AvED last month, and came away with an inside look of the production. And over the next few months, we'll be unveiling exclusive glimpses from the 10-episode first season.

So let's move on to the first serving. Nearly 23 years after Army of Darkness premiered, Ash vs. Evil Dead reunites the trio of Michigan boys Sam, Bruce, and Rob (and Ivan Raimi makes four), and the horror-action comedy series marks one of the most-anticipated projects at SDCC. Instead of flesh-eating zombies, the smartass, deceptive Deadites of the Evil Dead-verse are about to possess fans with their sense of humor and buckets of blood.

What can fans expect from the Comic-Con appearance of AvED? In their statements below, Campbell and Tapert add insight to their big showing at the SDCC "Big Show" that might turn a zombie-loving nation of Dead-heads into Deadite nerds.

When did Bruce realize Ash was back?

Bruce Campbell: Sam and I went to the art department because they wanted a meeting to check the stuff the art department had gathered to put in the trailer. They had the Faygo red pop we drank from Michigan, they had the Camp Tamaqua stickers on the car from the camp Sam went to. It was insane. Michigan State University; everything we had from Michigan was there. Sam and I were looking at each other going, "Wow, we're back." Ash is back.

We got your chainsaws, your axes, and your Necronomicon. We're using all of them!

Where will we find Ash at the beginning of the series?

When we first reunite with the character Ash, he's living in a beat up and filthy 1975 Airstream trailer. While I can't tell you everything I saw here, I will reveal that this mobile home figures prominently into the first episode of the season, directed by Sam Raimi. 

"Going through the details we Sam, we had to get a backstory of where Ash had been in the last 30 years, and what he might have collected," said set designer Nick Bassett.

Bassett added the Ash we meet has tastes locked in the 1980s, which was likely his heyday. Along with there are loads of Easter Eggs – the aforementioned Faygo Cola and Motor City Brewing bottles; a postcard of Jacksonville, Florida; a ticket and tee shirt from Camp Tamaqua. He also has a "love nest," which is a pretty dismal arrangement for the lothario.

Of course, he's still holding on to the Necronomicon, and it's stored in a trunk – with porn. 

It will further serve as the "clubhouse," as Raimi calls it, for Ash, and his sidekicks Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). And every clubhouse needs a mascot. In this case, it's Eli the bearded dragon. 

You can expect to see more of this trailer in the SDCC tease this Friday.

Where is the series set?

Rob Tapert: We wanted to set the series in mythical Michigan. The first movie was actually shot in Tennessee. We wanted to shoot it in Michigan but couldn't because of weather, and this proved too expensive to shoot in Michigan, but we want to honor our Michigan roots, and the roots that gave rise to the Evil Dead. We would say it's Michigan with trees that don't exist there.

How are they building out the show from a couple movies to an entire series?

Rob Tapert: One of the unique challenges was settling on the mythology. The Evil Dead movies were so loose. You could drive trucks through the holes in them, so to stand up and have a logic and universe that stood on its own has been an ongoing challenge. We believe we've gotten through the first season making much smaller those loopholes that are part of the franchise. That storytelling: What are they? How are they different? Why is it not a zombie? All of those have been challenges along the road. The audience won't think we're just throwing things at them, but understand there's a rationale to what's happened. There is a set of rules, as loose as they may be, they're being followed.

About that chainsaw…

That sucker is real. Sort of. When I visited the prop workshop, I learned that the red motor housing is made of fiberglass and packed full of goodies. Inside there is a motherboard and a trigger for Campbell to pull and unleash hell. As the motor rips, there is a mechanism that spews smoke. And because this is a horror show, there is tubing that allows for blood to be pumped through when things need to get gory. Another fun fact: While there is a safety bar with a car timing belt and latex chainsaw teeth in use, expect to see a version that allows Ash to actually cut into the nearest Deadite.

What is Bruce most excited for fans to see at Comic-Con?

That it's back. Everything. They're going to get so much Evil Dead, they're going to choke on the evil and the dead. They're going to choke on the amount of blood, limbs, heads, bodies, possessed, white eyes. It's all coming back. Nastiness, snarkiness, trash-talking monsters. And some good old-fashioned retro rock 'n' roll.