Video game fans around the world received promising news in August 2020, when Netflix announced that the survival horror classic Resident Evil would be getting a live-action TV adaptation at some point in the very near future. I know, I know, fans of the beloved series have been burnt before (multiple times, actually), but the story about the Wesker twins (the name ring any bells?) moving to "New Raccoon City" has pretty excited. However, knowing how the franchise has been treated in the past has me cautious about what we'll see when the show finally hits the streaming platform.
With that being said, I've waited a long time (like, since I got too scared playing Resident Evil 2 back in 1998 and had to take it back the next day), so, like any video game fan, I have some thoughts and a sort of a wish list of things I want to see in Netflix's version of Resident Evil that will hopefully make it a faithful adaptation of the stories and lore surrounding the franchise.
Locations, Characters, And Monsters From The Games
The Netflix Resident Evil series is set across two timelines involving 14-year-old twin sisters Jade and Billie Wesker, with the first being set in the twins' adolescence when they move to New Raccoon City, with the second taking place 16 years later after the T-Virus has already spread across the world, decimating life as we know it. The addition of "New" in front of "Raccoon City" (the location of multiple games in the franchise) is tripping me up a bit and has me wondering if this is just a different name for the ill-fated town that played test subject to the evil Umbrella Corporation, or a different place entirely.
If New Raccoon City ends up just being what the show will call its central location, hopefully we'll see some of the iconic locations and characters from the Resident Evil franchise. Places like the Spencer mansion from Resident Evil, the Raccoon City Police Department (and all those puzzles) from the second game, and sewers that host all those disfigured beasts. Speaking of which, I really want to see some of the more legendary monsters like Nemesis, those zombie dogs, and Mr. X, who could still be chasing down Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield through the city.
How The T-Virus Spread
At the center of Resident Evil lore is the evil Umbrella Corporation, the secretive and all-powerful international pharmaceutical company that treats Raccoon City, its residents, and even the flora and fauna as its test subjects. The most important discovery made by the evil corporation and its scientists is the T-virus, a powerful mutagen that turns humans into zombies (or worse) and tends to mess with every living creature with results ranging from hive-minded man-eating plants to giant alligators in the sewers of the Midwestern city.
The "leak" of the T-virus into Raccoon City is mentioned in every one of the early games, but fans of of the series never got to see its spread and early stages of its impact on the population. In both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, Raccoon City is already infested with zombies, the survivors are few and far between, and the city is in a state of chaos with barricades, fires, and dead bodies scattered about the cityscape. Maybe the creation and spread of the T-virus will be what separates the two timelines in the upcoming Netflix series, and fill in the gaps for longtime fans of the game franchise.
Some Insight Into The Motivations Of Albert Wesker
The two main characters in the Netflix Resident Evil series — Billie and Jade Wesker — share a surname with Albert Wesker, the former STARS captain who betrayed his fellow officers in the first game when he revealed that he was working for Umbrella, only to later reveal that he was working for another corporation entirely. Yeah, it's extremely convoluted (more on that in a bit), but Wesker is a major part of the franchise and given that the show will have some time to devote to the characters' backgrounds, maybe we can get some insight into the dastardly (and sometimes superhuman) villain.
Now, I should make it clear that there has been no confirmation that Albert Wesker is going to be in the series, but why give the two main characters the same last name as the franchise's most notable antagonist without there being a connection to or appearance by Wesker? Well, the characters could always be clones of Albert Wesker, which would be the craziest thing to happen in the franchise. Netflix, please don't let that be the case.
A More Grounded And Less Convoluted Approach To The Story
Okay, okay, saying you want a more grounded and less convoluted to any story involving Resident Evil sounds like an oxymoron, but hear me out. I'm all down for zombies, giant moths, and even Mr. X chasing me around the Raccoon City Police Department, but the overly complicated storylines (like the ones seen in the movies) that deviate from the source material and become pretty wacky should be kept far away from the Netflix series.
Instead of having nonsensical storylines that never seem to stop spreading, I want to see a more straight-forward approach to storytelling this time. It shouldn't be that hard to make an enjoyable and entertaining show with literally decades of material to go off of (not counting Resident Evil 6, woof) and make something that works. It can even be as simple as something like the T-virus spreads, it infects people, those people turn to zombies, the heroes try to survive.
More Horror And Less Over-The-Top Action Than In The Movies
In the introduction, I said that Resident Evil 2 terrified me as a kid and that I had to take it back because I was so scared. Anyone who grew up (or played the games later on) knows that those first main entries in the series were full of various situations that made you want to leave a light on while you played late at night. With the moody music, the stationary camera that hid terror around each corner, and limited ammo and supplies, those games made you feel like you were in the mansion, the police station, or abandoned lab with the characters you were controlling. The movies didn't have that, and instead were full of over-the-top action sequences.
That's my final item on my wish list for the upcoming Netflix series — I want the show to go back to the game's horror roots (much like how the games have in recent years) and pull off some of the amazing feats featured in the games. We don't need superhuman protagonists that never die or run out of ammo and we don't need large-scale action sequences. Just give me a dark hallway, some zombies, and eerie music.
Will any of this come to fruition when Resident Evil debuts on Netflix sometime in the near future? Let's hope so, and let's hope we don't have to wait too long. If you want to know what you can expect to catch on Netflix with the 2020 premiere schedule or old-fashioned television, check out CinemaBlend's Fall 2020 TV Guide for all the latest info.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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