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Where Evil Dead Rise Fits In The Evil Dead Universe, According To Bruce Campbell - Exclusive

Although the "Evil Dead" universe is largely made up of chapters starring Bruce Campbell as the chainsaw-handed and boomstick-slinging Ash Williams in the original "Evil Dead" movie trilogy and "Ash vs Evil Dead" TV series, 2013's "Evil Dead" and the new film "Evil Dead Rise" still exist on the franchise's original timeline, Campbell says.

Campbell, who is one of the major creative forces behind "Evil Dead Rise," confirmed in an exclusive interview with Looper that all of the projects are set in the same universe. Opening in theaters April 21, "Evil Dead Rise" is the latest tale in the franchise that kicked off with Campbell's Ash, director Sam Raimi, and producer Rob Tapert in 1981. Written and directed by Lee Cronin, the distinction between his "Evil Dead" film and those that came before it is that its victims are being affected by a different Necronomicon, aka "The Book of the Dead," noted Campbell.

"The rules of the films are the same, [they have] just different characters. These days, it's all about the book," Campbell explained. "Where is that darn book, and who's going to find it, and what's going to happen? These [characters in 'Evil Dead Rise'] are the next victims. Because in 'Army of Darkness' we hint ... You see there's three books, so that book can get around. That's what led us out of the cabin — these books are not all in some cabinet in this one cabin in the woods. They're all over; they're wherever we need them to be."

Evil Dead Rise is largely set in a high-rise apartment building

The Necronomicon in "Evil Dead Rise" is located in a dilapidated high-rise in a suburb of Los Angeles. It's there where Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), a single mother of three, falls victim to a demonic possession after her son, Danny (Morgan Davies), discovers the Necronomicon and some old recordings in a once-sealed off space below their apartment complex after a powerful earthquake rips a role in its foundation. Once Danny and Ellie's estranged sister, Beth (Lily Sullivan), open the book and the recordings are played, an invisible demonic force takes hold and unleashes fury upon the family.

While "Evil Dead Rise" has some recognizable cues to the original "Evil Dead" films, the story is separate from what fans have seen in terms of characters like Ash Williams. However, Bruce Campbell explained, there are some similarities in that the victims are ordinary folks. "The rules are the same throughout. The rules of possession and the innocent people who find it — the people with no special skills, no CIA or ex-FBI — these are civilians," Campbell said. "Part of the reason why Ash was a successful character was because audience members are going, 'Crap, I could do that as good as that guy.' Yet it makes them relate to him because you go, 'What if he was just a regular S-Mart employee who got dragged into this?'"

Campbell was careful not to interfere with Sutherland and Sullivan's work

While Alyssa Sutherland's and Lily Sutherland's characters sustain the same sort of physical punishment that Bruce Campbell did while playing Ash Williams in the "Evil Dead" films and TV series, Campbell said he purposefully avoided warning either of the actors of the rigorous demands they were about to endure. In short, Campbell in no way wanted either to feel like they were being held to the standards the actor-producer set previously.

"It wouldn't help telling them anything. I stayed completely out of their hair. I don't want to get involved in their process. I don't want to be in their head," Campbell told Looper. "They both leaned into their roles, which is all you could ever hope for, that they didn't grope their way through this. They charged through it. They both were very confident in their performances."

"Evil Dead Rise" opens in theaters Friday, April 21.