With Evil Dead Rise slaying at the box office and earning acclaim from genre fans, speculation abounds regarding a follow-up to continue the Deadite chaos. Director Lee Cronin recently spoke with Variety about sequel ideas already percolating and the desire to keep exploring the Evil Dead universe. But he also wants to pursue original creative passions first before committing to another undead chapter.
By returning to the franchise’s bloody roots of friends battling demons in a contained location, Cronin refreshed the Evil Dead formula through fresh avenues. Setting the carnage in an inner-city apartment complex opened up inventive new settings and weapons for mayhem compared to the familiar remote cabin. Evil Dead Rise overperformed financially and critically, signaling renewed hunger for Ash’s saga.
When asked about sequel concepts, Cronin revealed he has “four places” he’d like to explore in potential follow-ups. Intriguingly, these include sidequels involving other Deadite-related events and lore established in Rise:
- The origin story behind the dreaded Necronomicon featured in the film could fuel an entire prequel. Cronin seeded hints through vinyl recordings of the Book of the Dead from 1923.
- With a survivor taking up Ash’s chainsaw, Cronin proposes following their continued adventures traveling on the road battling Deadites.
- He’s fascinated by the aftermath and cleanup crew discovering the carnage left behind at the Rise apartment complex. Almost a CSI-style horror mystery scenario.
- Finally, Cronin feels the opening/closing scenes in the woods around the original cabin hint he could come “full circle” in a sequel and bring events back to familiar cabins in the woods.
Each idea suggests Cronin envisioned Rise as a starting point to expand the saga’s mythology moving forward, not just a standalone entry. He clearly relished the chance to play in this sandbox. But at the same time, the director has other original horror concepts gathering dust that he’s equally passionate to pursue. Ultimately it may come down to which studio project gains traction first. But based on Rise’s success, Cronin likely will return to Evil Dead when the timing is right.
When looking at casting possibilities, the outlook depends on which sequel route gets chosen. The Rise apartment complex survivors Beth and young Kassie seem logical heroes to bring back. But a sidequel or fresh story avenue could feature a mostly new ensemble. Though Bruce Campbell is officially retired as Ash, the cameo offer remains open. And the iconic Necronomicon is still floating around for new fools to misuse.
The biggest clue comes from Rise’s ending, which Cronin intentionally devised to continue the mythos. By having a character unknowingly contaminated in the final moments, the door is wide open for more possessed fiends, now spreading wider from the original ghostly woods. Audiences crave resolution to that ominous tease.
Cronin remains judicious about committing to more Evil Dead until surveying other options. But the runaway success of Rise coupled with his own sequel ideas brewing suggests it’s only a matter of time before he returns to unleash more Deadite chaos. When discussing his sequel concepts, Cronin’s enthusiasm comes through loudly. This franchise clearly captured his imagination. Once the timing aligns, he seems destined to pick up the director’s chainsaw again.
The Evil Dead formula has been revived, and a sequel to continue that momentum makes strong financial and creative sense. Cronin initially came aboard to reinvent the playbook, which he accomplished brilliantly. Now having established bold new territory and rules, he’s uniquely positioned to push the envelope further. While not guaranteed, the odds seem strongly in favor that we haven’t seen the last of his gruesome contributions to Deadite lore.
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