Resident Evil film franchise gets a reboot with a cast of several genre fan favorites

Milla Jovovich’s badass superheroine Alice in the Resident Evil franchise, from 2002’s first film through five sequels–Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)–has given us the 21st century version of Ellen Ripley and Sarah Conner.  The tie-in to the Japanese survival/horror-themed video game Biohazard (renamed for the U.S. market) is a staple in the action movie genre–not only one of the world’s bestselling game series since arriving in 1996, it’s the world’s most successful video game tie-in movie franchise ever.  But Alice wasn’t a character in the Capcom Resident Evil games, and 14 years is a long run for any franchise, so it’s finally getting a reboot, and that yet-to-be-titled reboot is coming later this year with a great slate of some of our favorite genre actors.  This new film (from Sony Pictures) will be in addition to an eight-part Resident Evil live-action television series and an anime series (titled Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness), both coming to Netflix.

Although the Resident Evil movies aren’t known for incorporating characters from the games, that will change in the upcoming film.  Look for the suave Robbie Amell (The X-Files, The Flash, A Series of Unfortunate Events) and the versatile Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Maze Runner, The Pale Horse) as sibling characters Chris and Claire Redfield.  The awesome Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and The Wasp, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ready Player One, Killjoys) will step into the role of Jill Valentine.  The ubiquitous Neal McDonough (Star Trek: First Contact, Walking Tall, Captain America: The First Avenger, Timeline, Altered Carbon, RED 2, The X-Files, Quantum Leap) will play Dr. William Birkin.  The cool Donal Logue (Vikings, Stumptown, Life, Gotham, Zodiac, The X-Files, Sneakers) is Chief Brian Irons.  And Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy, Terminator: Dark Fate, Merlin, Doctor Who) will portray Albert Wesker.

Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine were the protagonists of the first game, the original two playable characters.  Dr. Birkin is a virologist with Umbrella Pharmaceuticals and creator of the G-virus first appearing in the second game, which also featured Claire Redfield as one of the main playable characters, and Chief of Police Brian Irons was a bad cop with a troubled past.  Albert Wesker was the leader of the Alpha team and S.T.A.R.S.  Claire is also one of the key characters in the upcoming anime series Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, and Chris Redfield will be featured again in the new Capcom game–the eighth in the series–Resident Evil Village, arriving in game stores May 7, 2021.

Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) will write and direct the film.  The plot is expected to focus on the origin of the Resident Evil world in the franchise’s familiar Raccoon City, circa 1998.

The film has a tentative opening date (all dates this year are tentative, right?) of September 3, 2021.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg

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