Since 2002, the powers-that-be behind the Resident Evil franchise have been trying to keep the flame of the franchise going, in one way or another. Last fall’s cinematic attempt Welcome to Raccoon City didn’t exactly work as planned, which was especially disappointing for me, as I was a fan who championed the concept of a quick reboot to Resident Evil. Netflix certainly has its work cut out for it thanks to a streaming series adaptation being on the 2022 TV schedule. Now we finally have our first look at not one, but two trailers that do change things up, like the origin of the T-Virus, from what we’ve previously seen.
So far, I like what's been shown, and it’s because of these changes to how Resident Evil is being brought to life this time out. Before I start to really dig into the deeper details, you should check out the first teaser trailer embedded here:
If you like what you’ve seen there and want to dig a little deeper, the official website for Umbrella’s latest consumer product has another quick look at what’s coming down the line. However, it’s now time to dig into the fresh angles that make this new Resident Evil project seriously intriguing.
This Time Wesker And Umbrella Are Featured More Prominently Than Ever
Resident Evil lore almost always paints Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick) and the Umbrella Corporation as the shadowy antagonists of whatever story they’re a part of. The new Netflix series has made a huge departure from square one, as Wesker is a core component of the show’s focus. Also, it looks like we’re about to get a nice inside look at Umbrella’s current operations.
If that’s not enough, showrunner Andrew Dabb told EW that the changes behind Wesker himself have a very fun part to play. For those of you wondering how this series fits in with the original Capcom games, prepare to be blown away:
A new Wesker has arrived, and he’s still connected to all of the crazy stuff that’s happened in the Resident Evil games. What's even crazier is that the previously bankrupt Umbrella Coropration seems to be back, and with a new product on the market.
Introducing Joy: The Umbrella Corporation’s Latest Designer Drug
Harkening back to Umbrella’s background as a leading biotech firm, Resident Evil introduces this round of T-Virus mayhem through a new designer drug called Joy. Much like this dastardly company is wont to do, Joy is meant to act as a cure for everything from OCD to ADHD, and anxiety in-between. However, as Umbrella warns on its website, “unwanted side effects may occur,” despite having a cute orange bear as it's mascot.
In other words, I hope you don’t mind running the risk of becoming a zombie in order to better your mental health. Resident Evil isn’t digging for gold in the bioweaponry division of Umbrella this time out. Rather than using the T-Virus to develop supersoldiers that can’t die, this vicious pathogen is now a prescription for wellness; yet again moving back to the classic video game canon.
Netflix's Resident Evil Deals With Fresh Settings And New Twists Of Scenery
Point of order for fans of Resident Evil 5: if Wesker’s death is canon, then so is the African setting of the game. So in that respect, placing New Raccoon City in South Africa isn’t a totally fresh setting for Netflix’s Resident Evil series. And yet, building a brand new “old factory town” in that very country still introduces fresh hell for a classic series.
Adding to that excitement, another setting that’s not a vaguely Midwestern suburb in the United States is present in this brand-new adventure. Apparently London was calling to Andrew Dabb and the Resident Evil crew, as the older Jade Wesker (Ella Balinska) somehow winds up in a zombie-infested version of that storied city. We’ve seen the T-Virus ravage the world before, but heading to a metropolis like London is a fresh setting; especially if this doesn’t turn out to be some underwater simulation of a major city. (I’m looking at you Resident Evil: Retribution.)
Resident Evil’s Plot Is Now Working With Time Jumps
The Resident Evil movies starring Milla Jovovich were eventually strung together over the course of years. With that point standing, each movie seems to restrict itself to a handful of days at most; which isn’t that far off from the original games setting their entries over the course of a day or two. Netflix has totally smashed that timeframe, as this story jumps between the events of 2022 and 2036, through the eyes of Jade Wesker (Tamara Smart and Ella Balinska).
If you were looking for a reason why Resident Evil makes for a promising cinematic universe, look no further. For schemes as big as those executed by Umbrella, the long game can be a beautiful thing if you have enough material. The split between two time periods in this round of undead mayhem amps up the potential for storytelling better than weaving choice easter eggs into the mix “for the fans.”
Billie And Jade Wesker May Have Some Sinister Origins
Circling back to the Wesker family, twins Billie and Jade have some very important questions surrounding their creation. Albert Wesker isn’t above using science to chase power and immortality, which already makes his own return something to keep a close eye on. Again, showrunner Andrew Dabb dropped some interesting knowledge to this point in the interview previously cited:
Shots of Lance Reddick experimenting on lab animals with the blood of his “daughters” only furthers this mystery. Resident Evil loves to delve into the world of weird families, especially when there are twins involved. However, just because Billie and Jade are potentially lab created children doesn’t mean they’re going to break bad.
Gigantic T-Virus Mutations Are Back, Baby!
Ridiculous creations found their way into the Resident Evil films more frequently as time went on. Somehow, that aspect never felt accurate to the creatures we saw in the Capcom games, where more of the thrills were mined from gigantic mutations of various lifeforms through the T-Virus. The moment that first giant spider showed up onscreen during Netflix’s trailer, it was clear that those mutations were back!
Giant spiders aren’t the limit, as we are still getting some absolutely gargantuan aggressors in this next chapter. More specifically, a very hungry caterpillar looks like it’s ready to take on Jade Wesker in 2036, and it makes things feel that much closer to the games that the Resident Evil team is trying to incorporate. All that’s missing is the potential for Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil: Village to show up, and even that’s on the table from what Andrew Rabb has said.
As someone who was annoyed with how Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City butchered the lore of the games, this Netflix series has shown so much promise that I’m hyped again. The change-ups employed seem to be shifting the franchise to a track closer to the one followed on various home entertainment consoles. Looking at these trailers fill me with joy, and I hope that feeling doesn’t mutate into something more upsetting when the show premieres.
Resident Evil will infect the Netflix library, starting July 16th. If you’re curious as to what other Netflix shows are coming throughout the year, the 2022 Netflix TV schedule has all the information you’ll need. Well, everything except for a guide book on how to fend off a gigantic mutated insect. That’s something not even our top minds have figured out just yet.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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