Umbrella

Resident Evil timeline: How the Netflix show expands series canon

A tangled web.

Unlike other live-action adaptions, Netflix’s new Resident Evil series actually ties into the video games series, using them as a backdrop for a new story. Of course, the Resident Evil timeline is confusing enough as it is, so piecing together how the TV show ties into all that can be a bit of an endeavor. There are plenty of hints and references packed into Resident Evil’s eight episodes, so we’ll help piece together all the ways the series ties into the games. As a warning, we’ll be discussing major spoilers for Netflix’s Resident Evil.

When does Netflix’s Resident Evil take place?

Netflix’s Resident Evil is the furthest we’ve seen in the timeline.Netflix

Netflix’s Resident Evil takes place across two different timelines. The first is set in South Africa and takes place in New Raccoon City, a corporate paradise owned by the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. The second takes place in the year 2036 after a majority of the planet has been taken over by people and creatures infected by the T-Virus.

Netflix’s series features quite a few different references to the video games series. For example, a character says Albert Wesker perished “in a volcano,” referencing the climactic fight players have against him at the end of Resident Evil 5. The show also mentions the events in the original Raccoon City and the Arklay Mountains taking place in Resident Evil 1-3, as well as how officials covered up the whole thing. The references only go up so far as Resident Evil 5, however, as the show doesn’t mention any of the events in Resident Evil 6 and forward.

This makes the Netflix show the furthest in the timeline we’ve seen, sort of. Resident Evil Village takes place in February 2021, although there is a time skip at the end of the game that features an older Rose Winters. However, it’s not exactly clear when the time skip in Village takes place.

How is Umbrella still around?

The main villain of Netflix’s Resident Evil is Evelyn Marcus, the daughter of one of Umbrella’s founders.Netflix

One of the bigger unanswered mysteries is how the Umbrella Corporation would even be operating in 2022, considering in the game timeline the company went bankrupt in 2004 after an extensive legal battle. Umbrella was founded by three brilliant virologists, Oswell E. Spencer, Edward Ashford, and James Marcus. However, through a lot of corporate espionage, Spencer wrested control of the company from Marcus and basically struck him from Umbrella’s history.

The leader of Umbrella in the Netflix series is Evelyn Marcus, the daughter of James and a brand new character. During the show, she talks about how Umbrella was stolen from her father, and her goal is to restore the legacy of her family. Marcus’ role in Umbrella was detailed in Resident Evil 0, where it’s revealed he ran the Umbrella Executive Training School that helped produce both Albert Wesker and Dr. William Birkin.

While the Netflix series never explicitly explains how Umbrella came back, it’s likely New Raccoon City is in South Africa because the company is not allowed to operate in the United States. Umbrella has shifted its focus to medical technology and pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants. After the company went bankrupt in 2004, Umbrella Japan was the only brand that went into liquidation, so at that point, it’s possible Evelyn Marcus purchased those assets and used them to revitalize the corporation.

How is Wesker alive?

Albert Wesker plays a huge role in the story of Netflix’s Resident Evil.Netflix

The other major mystery of Netflix’s Resident Evil is how Albert Wesker is still alive, considering he met his end at the hands of Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5. Later episodes of the Netflix series reveal that Wesker cloned multiple copies of himself, in order to conduct some kind of extended research. This was in breach of Umbrella’s policies, and Wesker tries to erase the evidence before Umbrella can find the clones but fails.

The Albert Wesker that’s the father of Jade and Billie is one of these clones, and he’s been able to live a life for himself as long as he works with Umbrella. However, Umbrella has been keeping another of the clones, Bert, in captivity and using him to work on projects in secrecy. This means that the clone Weskers and the real Wesker existed at the same time, but the real Wesker did indeed meet his end in a volcano.

Clone Wesker created Jade and Billie using his own genes and surrogate mothers. This ultimately was a way of keeping himself alive, using injections of their blood to keep his body from breaking down. There are presumably three Wesker children alive in the Resident Evil universe, counting Jade and Billie as well as Jake Muller, one of the main characters of Resident Evil 6. Jake is the biological son of the original Wesker, but due to the character not being very popular he hasn’t appeared since. Still, with more Wesker out in the world, it’s easy to see a situation where Jade and Billie run into him.

Is the Netflix show in the same timeline as Resident Evil Village?

The events of Village and Netflix’s Resident Evil happen concurrently, but don’t cross over.Capcom

The big remaining mystery for Netflix’s Resident Evil is if the show will tie into the current games in any way. Unfortunately, at the moment there’s no way to be sure, but previous comments from showrunner Andrew Dabb seem to suggest that could happen if the show is a hit. In May 2022 Dabb talked to a group of journalists at Netflix’s Hollywood office, where he said “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."

As GameSpot reports, Capcom was very cooperative in its partnership with Netflix and provided access to Dabb and his team where it could. But if the video games travel further in the timeline, they’ll need to contend with the global crisis of the Netflix show. As mentioned earlier with Resident Evil Village, it’s hard to say when the epilogue with a teenage Rose takes place. Considering she’s a newborn in the main game, it’s possible the epilogue takes place around 2036 when the events of Netflix’s Resident Evil happen. However, it could also be set before 2036 with Rose aging at an accelerated rate due to her being born from the Mold.

A teaser at the end of Netflix’s Resident Evil suggests that Ada Wong will appear in the next season, so it’s certainly possible we’ll see more iconic characters if the show’s a hit. Coincidentally, an art book for Resident Evil Village shows that Ada Wong was set to appear in an early version of the story, so it’s possible we could see some of those unused ideas play out in Netflix’s series.

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