You’ve played the games, you’ve seen the movies, and now Netflix is bringing you a whole new version of Resident Evil unlike any you’ve seen before. The first teaser trailer for the mysterious, highly anticipated show was just released and io9 talked to the showrunner, Andrew Dabb, all about it.
The eight-episode season debuts July 14 and it follows a woman named Jade (Ella Balinska) who is fighting to survive in a world overrun by deadly zombies, creatures, and all manner of evil. It’s 2036 but, 14 years earlier, she, her sister and her father Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick) were at ground zero in a place called New Raccoon City when the world, basically, ended. Told both in the past and the future simultaneously, check out a glimpse of the parallel carnage happening in the new spin on the Capcom video game franchise. Then, below, read more from the showrunner about what to expect from the show.
So what exactly is going on here? Well, io9 was among a group of journalists who spoke to showrunner Andrew Dabb earlier this week about the show and he broke it all down. First of all, where does this show fit into the overall story of Resident Evil? It’s basically two sequels to every single game that’s out there, one in 2022 and one in 2036.
“The games are the backstory,” Dabb said. “So everything that happened in the games happened in this world in the timeline that it happened.” So if something happened in a game released in 1998, like Raccoon City being nuked, in this world, that happened also in 1998.
So if games are canon (up to and including the most recent game, Village, which Dabb says plays no role here—but in his mind is happening far away, almost simultaneously to this story) but what about the movies? Dabb says the show borrows occasionally from the Paul W.S. Anderson saga, but that his vision for Resident Evil was more about showing fans times during a zombie apocalypse we usually don’t see.
“What we’ve seen a lot of [in zombie movies] are the days, the weeks, and even the months afterward,” he said. “But what we haven’t seen a lot is the lead-up because, you know, the movie usually starts when the zombies show up, right? It doesn’t really start before that. And then we haven’t seen what the world would look like when it has come to terms with what’s happened. Humanity is adaptable and we adapt to a lot of things. We’re adapting to COVID literally right now. We would adapt to a zombie outbreak. It might not be pretty and it might not look like Los Angeles 2023, but we would do it.”
This being Resident Evil though, it’s not just zombies. There are lots of deadly creatures, some of which are new, and others that fans might recognize instantly in the trailer. However, Dabb didn’t want to make the show just about Easter eggs and winks to the hardcore fans. He wanted a show that is true to the games, but also its own unique thing. In fact, he cited a very famous example of what he’s going for.
“[Fans] want something that feels like it is a natural extension of the thing they already enjoy. And I would say the Marvel Universe does that very well,” Dabb said. “Most [Marvel] movies are not adapting a specific comic. They are borrowing here and there and they’re building something new. That is very much how we approach this. The games are canon and, I’m sure we make mistakes, but we did not consciously violate any rules from the games. But at the same time, it’s not a direct adaptation of the games.”
However, if you’re a fan of the games, you might at this point have a question. Resident Evil follows the family of Albert Wesker, Reddick’s character, who dies in spectacular fashion at the end of 2009's Resident Evil 5. Dabb knows that might not make sense yet.
“We are very aware that Albert Wesker was blown up on a volcano by a rocket launcher,” he said. “There is a very good reason why Wesker is back and it does not come down to the fact that he was wearing lava and rocket launcher proof clothes. So we’re very aware of that. It will be dealt with.”
Not everything will be dealt with though. When asked if this eight-episode season is a complete story, he said it is in terms of these characters, but not for the overall plot. The hope is to make more in the future, though that’s a decision for Netflix down the road. For now, Dabb just hopes people who see this teaser see that he’s got a new, fresh, but also faithful take on a beloved franchise. Something fans new and old will respond to.
“[Resident Evil] is not, as I’ve seen online, ‘Riverdale with zombies.’ It is a Resident Evil show,” he said. “It’s got the blood and the guts and the gore and the monsters and the secrets and the betrayals and all that stuff. And I hope people really respond to that.”
Resident Evil debuts July 14 on Netflix and if you want to see more, we’re told there might be an Easter Egg in that trailer for fans to find it...
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