Ash is in his early 20s and usually lives a "normal" life. He is employed at the superstore, S-Mart (where he works in the housewares department), and had a girlfriend, Linda. Based on the engineering textbooks in the trunk of his car, it appears that he is (or at least was) studying at Michigan State University. Also, in the first Army Of Darkness comic book released by Dark Horse in the 90s, Ash says his father blew $20,000 on his engineering degree showing that either he completed his schooling and had done nothing with his education, or dropped out.
In The Evil Dead, Ash and his girlfriend Linda, sister Cheryl, and friends Scotty and Shelly stay at a log cabin in the woods, where they find the "Naturon Demonto" (renamed or possibly translated to Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in the sequels), the "Book of the Dead", along with a tape recorder. The tape is a recording of the owner of the cabin, who was translating a passage of the book. By playing the tape, Ash and his friends awake the evil spirits who can now possess the living. Ash's friends and sister are consequently possessed and killed one by one, until he's the last survivor. He finally destroys the Necronomicon by throwing it in the fireplace, and in doing so causes the possessed bodies of Scotty and Cheryl to rapidly decay and 'die', and the evil seems to be driven back. However, the film ends with Ash being attacked or possibly overtaken by an evil spirit himself.
Evil Dead II continues the story from the previous film after a stunted recap in which the audience is only introduced to Ash's girlfriend Linda (who still subsequently gets possessed, decapitated and buried) and Ash himself, to the point where the evil spirit attacks Ash. From this point, the film continues the story from where the first film left off. Carried a good distance by the demon, Ash is slammed hard against a tree and falls in a puddle of water. From here he becomes a Deadite (see Deadite Ash, below) but shortly afterwards is released from the spirit by the coming of dawn, only to pass out. Ash regains consciousness moments before sunset. Deciding to get out of there as fast as he can, he climbs into his car and drives to where the bridge was, only to find it completely destroyed by the evil force. As the sun quickly sets, said force starts climbing up the cliff, and Ash hops into his car, driving away as fast as he can and as a result, crashing right into a tree stump that sends him flying through the windshield. With the evil close behind him, he runs into the cabin and through it trying to hide, and ducks into the trapdoor, waiting until the evil force leaves. After it does, Ash comes out, only to find himself stuck at the cabin with the spirits of the Evil Dead for yet another night. Later, the cabin owner's daughter, Annie and three more people arrive. It is near the end of this film that Ash gets his famous chainsaw in place of his right hand. The film ends with Ash being sucked into a vortex and traveling back in time to 1300 AD, where the locals claim, according to their prophecies, that he is "The Man That Falls from the Sky" who will save them from the Deadites (demon-possessed zombies).
The next film continues the story from there (though he receives far less of a warm welcome than the end of the previous film suggests). Ash has to defeat his alter-ego known as "Bad Ash"/"Evil Ash" who is leading the Army of Darkness to steal the Necronomicon. In this movie, Ash constructs a mechanical prosthetic hand out of a gauntlet from a suit of armor, using it throughout the film in place of the chainsaw (though he still carries it with him). The movie has two different endings, one where he returns to his own time and defends S-Mart from a possessed woman, and another, the director's cut (or Japanese version entitled "Captain Supermarket"), where he ends up in a post-apocalyptic future.
Powers and Abilities
Ash is known for two main weapons: his "boomstick", a sawed off double-barreled 12 gauge Remington shotgun (although this weapon has changed several times), and the more noticeable chainsaw, which was adapted to replace his right hand, amputated in Evil Dead II after being possessed by a Kandarian spirit. Later, during Army of Darkness, Ash builds himself a new, mechanical right hand using a plate, chainmail gauntlet, and customized springs. The mechanical hand is fully functional, and even allows Ash to exhibit an otherwise superhuman grip, although he seemingly does not have it in any media set after Army of Darkness. The shotgun also possesses a strange ability to consistently fire more rounds than Ash has loaded and has been shown to disappear at inconvenient times for Ash, only to reappear several moments later. His chainsaw can run for a remarkably long time without running out of gas, as seen throughout the final scenes of Evil Dead II.
The Deathcoaster is seen in the latter parts of Army of Darkness, made from the remains of his car and powered by a steam engine. The main feature of it is a massive rotating blade on the front of it, akin to an angled upright lawnmower blade. The Deathcoaster was destroyed during the film's final battle. At the end of the film he takes what is left of it with him, though it hasn't been seen or used in any later material. The Deathcoaster was not referred to as such in the film; the name appears in scripts and publicity material.
Besides the sawed-off Remington shotgun, Ash is also skilled in the use of other firearms like the Winchester Model 1894 lever action rifle. Strangely, Ash seems to lose possession of both his chainsaw and shotgun during Army of Darkness, as he is not seen to be carrying the chainsaw after dismembering Bad Ash and is not seen with his shotgun after crashing the Deathcoaster. A possible continuity error exists within the series; while Ash claimed to have obtained his shotgun at S-Mart in Army of Darkness, he really found it at Professor Knowby's cabin during Evil Dead II, though as some point out, Ash only says that the gun "can be found" in S-Mart, and never explicitly says that he got it there.
Bruce Campbell has stated Ash is pretty much incompetent at everything except fighting the Evil Dead. Campbell also added that Ash is "a bad slow thinker and a good fast thinker". He knows some degree of hand-to-hand combat techniques, and prowess with a variety of weapons in various situations . His main strength seems to be his ingenuity: although he is repeatedly noted in the audio commentaries for The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II for his stupidity and ignorance, he has from the second film on been shown creating such things ranging from his chainsaw bracket and shotgun harness, gunpowder from mainly referencing its elemental makeup in a chemistry book, a fully functional prosthetic hand from a metal gauntlet, and the short-lived "Deathcoaster". His inventing skills are further expanded on in the games: in Evil Dead: Regeneration, he creates fully-functional weapons such as a flamethrower and a harpoon gun from spare parts that are merely laying about; and in Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick, the inventiveness seems to run in Ash's family, as his blacksmith ancestor in the Colonial Dearborn level is quickly able to make a flamethrower and a gatling gun from spare parts Ash finds for him, when Ash says those things "haven't even been invented yet".
In addition, during the second time he was possessed near the climax of Evil Dead II, Ash displayed some degree of superhuman strength (see Deadite Ash below), as seen when he easily lifted Jake over his head and threw him at least ten feet into a tree and ripped the back screen door of the cabin off of its hinges with his one remaining hand.
Ash's personality and state of mind change drastically throughout the franchise. In The Evil Dead and the beginning of Evil Dead II, he is something of a laid-back everyman who is cowardly and inexperienced, but by the middle of Evil Dead II and into Army of Darkness, he has grown into a much braver, even arrogant person, and becomes the voice of encouragement and confidence in Arthur's castle. It is at this point that Ash becomes known for his one-liners, and his personality takes on a more cynical, embittered tone. Sam Raimi has said that he feels Ash's personality transformation in Darkness was very out of character.
Ash's experiences with the Necronomicon have left him cynical, irritable, and slightly insane; some of the horrible things that happened to him in the film trilogy (such as his reflection in Evil Dead II) were merely his hallucinations and not the "Evil Dead".
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: Boomstick, chainsaw hand
- In the Evil Dead films, the character of Ash Williams is played by actor Bruce Campbell.
- No trivia.
- Appearances of Ashley J. Williams (Earth-818793)
- Character Gallery: Ashley J. Williams (Earth-818793)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Ashley J. Williams (Earth-818793)
- Quotations by Ashley J. Williams (Earth-818793)
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