The Resident Evil video games are the backstory for Netflix's live-action series
The Resident Evil movies were their own beast. It didn't quite honor the original video games that served as their inspirations, but, hey, it was cool watching Milla Jovovich do her thing. As for Netflix's upcoming live-action Resident Evil TV series, that is taking a much different approach.
Showrunner Andrew Dabb, a veteran of Supernatural, sat down with press after screening the first two episodes at Netflix's New York City headquarters in April. Among the many tidbits discussed, he revealed everything that has happened in the games are part of the mythology of the series.
"The games are our backstory. Everything that happens in the games exists in this world," Dabb says. That includes the latest entry, Resident Evil: Village. "We may not get there until season 5, but it is in our world," he continues. "As we're moving ahead and talking about scripts for season 2, the village is a resource we can draw on."
The first Resident Evil trailer, which dropped online Thursday, shows viewers how the show will split its story between two timelines: New Raccoon City in 2022, which was the year the deadly T-virus caused a global zombie apocalypse; and 14 years later in 2036 London.
Ella Balinska, known for playing one-third of Hollywood's latest Charlie's Angels, stars as Jade Wesker in the 2036 story arc. The daughter of Lance Reddick's Albert Wesker, the same villainous character known in the video games, Jade fights for survival in a world overrun by the infected. But she's haunted by her past — both her father's connections to the nefarious Umbrella Corporation and what happened to her sister Billie in 2022.
Tamara Smart plays a younger version of Jade, who moves to New Raccoon City with Billie (Siena Agudong) and her dad in the 2022 timeline. The main cast is rounded out by Adeline Rudolph, Paola Nuñez, Ahad Raza Mir, Connor Gossatti, and Turlough Convery.
So, if the games are considered canon in the show, how is Wesker here now? Dabb acknowledges the obvious: "If you know the games, Wesker is dead. He got blown up by a rocket launcher in a volcano — how I think we all wanna go."
Another mystery revolves around the origins of Jade and Billie. Without giving away too many spoilers from the first two episodes, the trailer shows Wesker keeps vials of his kids' blood in his lab and conducts experiments. "Clearly, they may not be love children, let's just put it that way," Dabb says.
The specifics of Wesker's resurrection are still a secret, but Dabb promises the answer isn't as rudimentary as, "He's immune to lava." The executive producer adds, "I don't want to give too much away, but I will say the explanation for why Wesker is the way that he is and how he is still alive go hand in hand."
Given the connection to the games, does this mean Dabb is also now dream-casting other big-ticket characters? He mentioned Resident Evil: Village. Why not Lady Dimitrescu, the super-tall vampire lady that instantly went viral online? It turns out it's not out of the realm of possibility.
"I don't know who that [actor] is, but we'll find out in time," he says. Yet he also states the show isn't abiding by a "new character of the week" model. "It's not, 'Episode 3, Meet the Redfields.' 'Episode 4, Here's Leon,'" he jokes. "You could do that version, and there's a certain part of the fanbase that I'm sure would be like, 'Please do that version,' but for us it was more important to take you on this journey. And then as the journey goes on and on, we will touch on different corners and aspects of the mythology."
Resident Evil premieres with eight hourlong episodes on Netflix this July 14.
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