Netflix‘s newest adaptation of the Resident Evil video games finally arrived on Thursday, July 14. Many fans of the franchise are excited to see where showrunner Andrew Dabb has taken the story. But how will that story connect back to the games that started it all? Is there any bridge between this live-action series and the many films that came before it? Here’s what fans should know before diving into Netflix’s Resident Evil.
Is Netflix’s ‘Resident Evil’ canon with the video games?
The new Resident Evil show takes place in two timelines: 2022 and 2036. In 2022, young sisters Jade (Tamara Smart) and Billie Wesker (Siena Agudong) move to New Raccoon City, where their father, Albert (Lance Reddick), works at the Umbrella Corporation to create a miracle antidepressant known as Joy. However, that medication contains a very dangerous disease known as the T-virus, and it brings on a zombie apocalypse.
That brings viewers to 2036, more than a decade after the T-virus first began to spread. Billie has gone missing, leaving Jade (Ella Balinska) to survive a post-apocalyptic world filled with monsters on her own.
According to Dabb, the Resident Evil games serve as the “backstory” to this adaptation. He explained to GameSpot that the events of the games all the way through Resident Evil: Village also happened in Netflix’s Resident Evil universe. (Yes, that even includes the Raccoon City Incident in 1998 and Albert Wesker’s demise in 2009. Dabb promised these important events will be “dealt with” in the show.)
Dabb also said that any future games will go in a different direction than the series. However, there could be room for overlap.
“If we’re in season — fingers crossed, knock on wood — 5 of this show, and the next Resident Evil comes out and there’s something awesome in it, we will steal that, please believe that we will. But Capcom has their own plans for the game and how that story moves forward,” the showrunner said.
Is ‘Resident Evil’ connected to the movies?
This Resident Evil series is one of many adaptations of the video games. There was first a film series with six installments starring Mila Jovovich. Then, a reboot film called Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City arrived last year. Netflix also houses Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, an animated mini-series.
“The movie I can’t say it’s part of this, because it uses some of the same characters that are different actors. But certainly it’s a great dramatization of our history,” he said. “We’re very game focused. The games are really the backstory for us.”
Do you have to play the ‘Resident Evil’ video games to follow the Netflix series?
Those who are completely new to the Resident Evil franchise are free to jump into the Netflix series without any video game research. In the same interview with Tudum, Dabb confirmed that viewers “don’t have to be familiar at all” with the games in order to watch. However, those who have played the Resident Evil games will notice some Easter eggs in the show.
“I compare it to something like Game of Thrones, for example. If you’d read the books, the show was richer. If you hadn’t read the books, it was still a great show,” Dabb added. “If you played the games, I hope the show is richer. If you’ve never played the games, no problem, enjoy it, and I hope you will go play the games after you watch it because they’re great games.”
Resident Evil Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.