Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City Ending Explained: What Could Be Next For Capcom’s Cinematic Reboot

a monster in resident evil: welcome to raccoon city
(Image credit: Screen Gems)

Warning: spoilers for the Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City ending are in play. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you may want to turn back and head for the safety of CinemaBlend’s non-spoiler coverage.

Nearly 20 years ago, Capcom and Screen Gems began an era of filmmaking that would see Resident Evil finally hitting the big screen. After six films taking the franchise outside of its traditional storyline, writer/director Johannes Roberts has resurrected the cinematic incarnation to bring us Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. By the time this potential first installment of a larger series is over, there’s a clear idea as to what stories might be in play, and what could be next for Capcom’s cinematic reboot. 

Which leads us to the usual pre-feature lobby, warning you that this is the point of no return before you become infected with spoilers. Much like Raccoon City, the details to come need to be contained, in the name of those looking for a fresh experience. If you haven’t seen the Resident Evil reboot just yet, and want to go in cold, evacuate the area. Those of you still here, and with the proper clearance, can proceed to our discussion about just what happened during this movie’s finale.

Robbie Amell examines a shotgun in front of Kaya Scodelario in Resident Evil Welcome To Raccoon City.

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

What Happened At The End Of Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City?

Raccoon City is officially toast, though not through the traditional means of a low-yield tactical nuclear warhead. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City sees the surviving characters riding the rails of the Umbrella Corporation’s private train, in order to escape the entire town’s self-destruction. Massive underground charges detonate as planned, at 6 AM the morning following the events of the film.

While the Umbrella Corporation had hoped its efforts extinguished all life in that particular area, its reporting of that very result was false. Surviving the perilous, and rathe rainy, events of September 30th, 1998 were the Redfield siblings, Chris (Robbie Amell) and Claire (Kaya Scodelario), as well as fellow S.T.A.R.S. team member Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and RPD rookie Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia). Rounding out the team that could potentially incriminate Umbrella’s shady works is young Sherry Birkin (Holly De Barros), daughter of deceased scientist/G-Virus mutation Dr. William Birkin (Neal McDonaugh).

At the end of Resident Evil’s cinematic clean slate, the playing field is set for the Umbrella Corporation to keep denying what happened in their former corporate town. In the same breath, Claire Redfield’s quest to expose the shadowy entity for what it is also rages on, with plenty of accomplices to help her. She’s going to need them all, as the events of the past evening set up a ton of the series’ lore, and multiple pathways to move forward. 

Tom Hopper, Hannah John-Kamen, and Robbie Amell enter the Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City.

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Scenario A: Chris Redfield And Jill Valentine’s Investigation Of The Spencer Mansion

Two separate events make up the DNA of this action-horror adventure, because classic Resident Evil adventures have at least two scenarios playing out at the same time. To that point, “Scenario A” is the one that pulls from the first game in the series: the path where Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine investigate the incident at the Spencer Mansion. Belonging to eccentric millionaire/founder of the Umbrella Corporation, Dr. Oswald Spencer, his dwelling is a front for some of the labs that the company is using to develop their insidious bioweapons.

Responding to reports of strange activity in the surrounding Arklay Mountains, S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team goes radio silent. Which means good old reliable Chief Brian Irons (Donal Logue) needs to send out Bravo Team to find out what happened. Led by Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper), the team discovers that Alpha has been eliminated, or turned into zombies. The same fate befalls all but three members of Bravo Team, as Wesker, Jill, and Chris make it out of the mansion alive.

Avan Jogia and Kaya Scodelario in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Scenario B: Leon S. Kennedy And Claire Redfield’s Escape From The Raccoon City Police Department

Meanwhile, in the middle of Raccoon City itself, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City sees a rookie reporting for his first night at work. Leon S. Kennedy is a fresh transfer from another town, which was a blessing as he’d shot his partner in the ass during training. The butt of the joke in an early encounter with Albert Wesker and Jill Valentine, Leon’s first night in town is also his last.

Teaming up with Chris Redfield’s sister Claire, freshly returned from a self-imposed exile from Raccoon City, the pair must fight their way through the horrific by-products of Umbrella’s experiments. That’s part of why Claire returns home in the latest Resident Evil movie, as she’s received information from conspiracy theorist Ben Bertolucci (Josh Cruddas) that implicates the town’s parent company overlords in its ultimate destruction. With our “Scenario B” in place, it’s time to tie all of these threads together into one explosive finale that will determine the future of those who survive it.

The mutated William Birkin looms large in the train in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

How The Umbrella Corporation Unites Ties These Stories Together

Two people stand at the fulcrum of this story’s finale, and despite their initially friendly appearance, Dr. William Birkin and Albert Wesker are both involved in the Umbrella Corporation conspiracy. For the good doctor, his role in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was not only as a developer of the T and G Virus strains, he was also using children from the local orphanage to experiment with such dangerous toys. Where he succeeded with Lisa Trevor (Marina Mazepa,) he failed with young Claire Redfield, which ultimately let her escape the town, only to return as one of its potential saviors.

Albert Wesker’s antagonistic role in the story of the latest Resident Evil movie is not quite on the same level as it is in the source material. At the same time, his work for a secret third party that wants to steal Dr. Birkin’s G-Virus does still put Albert in the same position of betraying his S.T.A.R.S. team that he’s always inhabited. The intersection of this story’s villainous deeds literally happens when Albert tries to steal William’s work, and a deadly conflict is resolved.

Shooting each other in an armed standoff, Albert Wesker presumably apologizes for his wayward ways before dying from his wounds. Dr. William Birkin’s a bit smarter, and way more demented, and injects himself with the G-Virus to cheat death, while incurring a massive mutation in the process. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine meet up with Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, bringing little Sherry Birkin along for the ride. Evading, and eventually killing the mutated Dr. Birkin, their story comes to a dramatic end. 

The Ashford Twins footage film canister from Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Where Could Potential Resident Evil Sequels Be Heading?

One important thing to note is that in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’s mid-credits sequence, Albert Wesker is revealed to be alive after all! Though it’s through some sort of genetic jiggery-pokery, and the auspices of the mysterious Ada Wong (Lily Gao), all Wesker had to do was lose his sight to get a second chance at life. Which isn’t the only door that’s now opened for this cinematic re-take to walk through, as both easter eggs and a recent interview with Johannes Roberts, have indicated where future installments could head.

Upon his own admission in an interview with GamesRadar, Roberts stated that he really wants to tackle Resident Evil 4 in a potential sequel’s story. That’s only part of the picture though, as the director’s desire to recreate Alexia and Alfred Ashford’s creepy home movies (as also seen in this movie’s trailer) signals that Resident Evil: Code: Veronica is also in the mix. If his approach to this first film is any indication, we might see those two stories blend together for the next phase in the fight against Umbrella.

The future is wide open for Resident Evil’s next trip to the movies, and Welcome to Raccoon City is the foundation it will all be built upon. Should you be the type of reader who likes to spoil the movie before you see it, you can catch Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City in theaters now. To hear more from Johannes Roberts about his latest film, don’t forget to check out his interview with our in-house podcast ReelBlend. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.