Netflix's New Resident Evil Show Is Happening Concurrently With Village--But Don't Expect To See Lady Dimitrescu (Yet)
The Resident Evil franchise has a very long and far reaching timeline that spans decades. Here's where the new live-action show fits in.
The first teasers for Netflix's new live-action Resident Evil show have arrived, teasing an apocalyptic 2036 and a relatively normal 2022 (or as normal as an Umbrella Corporation sponsored subdivision can be). It's important to remember these dates--not only because they run throughout all eight of the first season's episodes, but because the show's timeline plays directly into the games.
In speaking with a group of journalists at Netflix's Hollywood office, showrunner Andrew Dabb explained that, while the Resident Evil show is not a direct adaptation to any one of the games, it does exist within the chronology and timeline of the video game universe. This means, in his words, "everything that happened in the games happened in our show, when it happened in the games." So, Racoon City being blown up in 1998? That happened here. All the various outbreaks and incidents throughout the early 2000s? They're all canon. Albert Wesker being killed in 2009? Yep, that too.
"Here's what I'll say about that," Dabb said, "we're very aware that Albert Wesker was blown up in a volcano by a rocket launcher. We've all been there. There is a very good reason that Wesker is back and it does not come down to the fact that he was wearing lava-and-rocket proof clothes. We're very aware of that and it will be dealt with."
This, of course, doesn't mean that everything will be dealt with in Resident Evil's long and deep timeline. "These events inform our backstory," Dabb said. The events of the series, he explained, are "characters starting to realize [via these past events] that Umbrella is more than just a low-rent Pffizer."
This meshing of timelines even extends into the present day, Dabb said. The latest main game in the franchise, Resident Evil Village, is set in 2021, less than a year before the events of the show--the events of which are "essentially happening concurrently with our show," according to Dabb. "They don't cross-over, obviously, because they're happening so far apart. But certainly now, Village is part of our lore. If we wanted to now put a giant vampire woman in Season 2, we can."
This doesn't mean that Dabb and his team were afforded special looks into the future of the video game franchise, though he said that Capcom's partnership was incredibly open. "I could not tell you what the next game is," he explained, but also clarified that Capcom gave approvals and access where and when they could. "They could have made our lives very difficult," he joked, assuring that they did not.
And as for Lady Dimitrescu's popularity with the internet leading up to Village's release, Dabb says that even had their production schedules meshed up a bit more cooperatively, he doesn't feel any sort of pressure to chase down trends. "I don't want to wedge characters in that don't fit organically," Dabb explained. "What I don't want to do is chase a trend because the production cycles on these things are so long--if this show is successful, as we know from every other streaming show in existence, we are probably 18 months at best away from getting a Season 2. 18 months from now, I could be sitting here like, we've gotta find a tall person to play this vampire lady, let's do this, and we could be on set shooting and then I look on Twitter and see, oh they just released a new Village expansion and the best character is someone else, and we hate the tall vampire lady now."
Still--the possibility is certainly there. Dabb also emphasized that, while no one on the show's creative team was running down a "checklist" of big names or events that needed to be included or namechecked in this version of the story, there will certainly be more familiar faces (both human and otherwise) showing up as the first season's 8 episodes progress.
Netflix's Resident Evil show premieres on the streaming service on July 14.
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