Everything we know (and can speculate on) about the Resident Evil Netflix series
A little over a year ago, in January of 2019, Deadline unveiled one heck of a scoop: Capcom’s acclaimed horror franchise Resident Evil was apparently getting a television series, one which would air exclusively on Netflix. At the time, the news generated a decent amount of buzz, but without any official follow-up from Capcom itself that buzz eventually died down. However, some fresh information on the rumored Resident Evil Netflix series which leaked earlier this month has gotten the old speculation hamster wheel turning again, especially since it contains specific details about the show’s setting and timeframe.
Whether you’ve been keeping an eye on the Resident Evil Netflix series since the initial Deadline report or you’re just hearing about it now, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up all the relevant information you need to know. We’ve also offered a little speculation on how (if at all) the Netflix show might tie into the existing Resident Evil games and lore.
What We Know So Far
It’s important to note that, as of this writing, Capcom still hasn’t technically confirmed the existence of a Resident Evil television series, but the evidence that’s been piling up feels too substantial to ignore.
The Deadline report was scarce on specific details, but it did at least mention how the television series is being developed through a collaboration between Netflix and German production company Constantin Film (the same company that produced the Milla Jovovich-starring Resident Evil movie series). Deadline’s report also covered how the Netflix series would “explore the dark inner workings of the Umbrella Corporation and the new world order caused by the outbreak of the T-virus,” which sounds like a suitably appropriate plot for a Resident Evil television show.
More recently, an actual synopsis of the television show was prematurely uploaded to a Netflix press site before being hastily taken down, but not before it was spotted and subsequently leaked. According to the synopsis, the series will be set in the fictional town of Clearfield, Maryland, an original location which also has ties to more recognizable elements of the Resident Evil canon:
“The town of Clearfield, MD has long stood in the shadow of three seemingly unrelated behemoths – the Umbrella Corporation, the decommissioned Greenwood Asylum, and Washington, D.C. Today, twenty-six years after the discovery of the T-Virus, secrets held by the three will start to be revealed at the first signs of outbreak.”
According to a separate report from Redanian Intelligence, the first season of the Netflix series will be made up of eight one-hour episodes (a common release format for new hour-long Netflix shows which was also used for the platform’s recent The Witcher adaptation). Redanian says that production on the Resident Evil series is expected to begin in June of this year and wrap by October.
Interestingly enough, despite the above plot synopsis pointing to a town in Maryland, Redanian’s report also claims the television series will be shot in South Africa. Given its production schedule, Redanian speculates the series will launch on Netflix’s streaming platform sometime during the Spring/Summer 2021 period.
Even though both Netflix and Capcom are staying silent for now, the prospects of the Resident Evil television series being an actual thing seem quite promising. Not only is there simply too much leaked information and corroborating evidence to ignore, but producing a series based on such a popular video game franchise would be quite on brand for the Netflix we know today.
Given the popularity of Netflix’s other video game-themed projects such as the animated Castlevania series (whose third season will debut on March 5) and, to a lesser degree, The Witcher (which has already been renewed for a second season), a potential Resident Evil television show feels like even more of a sure thing. Plus, it technically wouldn’t even be Netflix’s first time working with Capcom since it was announced back in November of 2018 that an animated Devil May Cry series is also coming to the streaming service.
So, assuming Netflix’s Resident Evil series is indeed real, there are several noteworthy discussion points which can be gleaned from the leaked plot synopsis. Tying new locations like Clearfield, Maryland and the Greenwood Asylum to something as iconic as the Umbrella Corporation should ideally make for some interesting drama since Resident Evil fans know quite well how good Umbrella is at meddling with (and experimenting on) the local populace.
The fact that the series will be filmed in South Africa and that Washington D.C. is specifically mentioned in the synopsis also leads us to assume the show will have some globe-trotting aspects, especially if it’s exploring the history and inner workings of the shadow Umbrella Organization and its long arm of influence. Perhaps most intruiging of all, however, is how the show is set a full 26 years after the initial discovery of the T-Virus. This could afford the series’ showrunners and writers a unique opportunity to look far ahead into the grim aftermath of the T-Virus’s initial devastation.
The Resident Evil movies attempted a similar approach, moving from the initial outbreak into a more apocalyptic setting where the entire world had devolved into zombie-filled chaos, but they never really explored the ramifications of that apocalyptic fallout in any meaningful way. Our guess is that Netflix’s series will take a more grounded approach, focusing on a small cast of characters who are attempting to rebuild and move on many years after the initial T-Virus update… and who likely still have ties to Umbrella’s shady machinations.
The Deadline report mentions how the Netflix series will have action sequences and easter eggs, so chances are viewers will be treated to a few gun fights, fast-paced chases, and maybe even a little hand-to-hand combat. The easter eggs, meanwhile, could encompass anything really. They might be smaller, more subtle nods to the Resident Evil games, or they could be straight up recognizable Resident Evil monsters like the Licker or the Tyrant, or even Umbrella-adjacent characters like Albert Wesker or Annette Birkin.
One thing we feel very confident in assuming is that Netflix won’t go down the same bombastic route as the Paul W.S. Anderson/Milla Jovovich Resident Evil movies. There will be action and tension for sure, but it sounds like the drama of Netflix’s series will rely just as much on intrigue and mystery as it will on monsters and explosions.
Assuming Redanian’s report is accurate, our guess is that Netflix will formally unveil its Resident Evil television series sometime in Spring, 2020 (pre-production is supposed to kick off in April going by the schedule Redanian outlined). The series’ first proper trailer will likely follow sometime in late Summer/early Fall, giving the production team a few months to put the trailer together assuming production does in fact begin in June. The timing for this first trailer would also work out well if Redanian’s Spring/Summer 2021 launch window also wound up being accurate.
Even if all we get from Netflix in 2020 is a short and simple confirmation that its Resident Evil series does actually exist, it will still be a good year for Resident Evil fans. The upcoming Resident Evil 3 remake will arrive in just a few months on April 3, and if Capcom plans to support the remake for as long as it did last year’s Resident Evil 2, fans should be more than properly primed to embrace the franchise’s Netflix debut in 2021.
Going by its brief synopsis and unique story hook, it sounds like Netflix’s Resident Evil series will attempt to balance familiar elements from the games with an original plot that could have globe-spanning significance. So far, Netflix’s track record with video game-turned-bingable television projects has exceeded all expectations, and that should be enough to make the prospect of a proper Resident Evil series exciting for old and new Resident Evil fans alike.