The rebooted Resident Evil trailer returns fans to where it all started: the outskirts of Raccoon City sometime in 1998. Umbrella Corporation, a human experimentation project fronting as a pharmaceutical company, has unleashed a mutagenic virus called the Tyrant (Golgotha in Resident Evil 2) into the city’s water supply, unwittingly turning the local populace into cannibalistic zombies devoid of sentience and perceived humanity. It’s up to Claire Redfield, an eagle-eyed college student, to unearth the truth behind the Raccoon City Destruction Incident and expose Umbrella for the human trafficking scheme it really is.
In the Resident Evil trailer, she enlists the help of her older brother Chris, a Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) operative with elite black ops experience, and his partners Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker. Those folks, along with a Raccoon City police officer on his first day, Leon Kennedy, help expunge the crisis. Together, these five form the bulk of Alpha Team, a special operations unit sent to contain the catastrophic t-Virus.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City splices elements of the first game with Resident Evil 2 into one cohesive whole, pitting the original series’s main players against the might of the Tyrant Virus. Most of the narrative takes place in an uninhabited mansion from the first Resident Evil. S.T.A.R.S. agents Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine from 1996’s Resident Evil are central characters in the film along with their squad leader Albert Wesker; they are tasked with investigating Bravo Team’s disappearance, same as in the first game, but this time are accompanied by Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy from the second game. They have come to Raccoon City hoping to launch a citizen’s probe on Umbrella itself.
The full-length trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City has finally arrived in the present-day. Check out Resident Evil superfan Johannes Roberts’s take on the first two games right here:
The events of the movie are set on September 30, 1998 — the day Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield met in Resident Evil 2 — instead of July 24th when Alpha Team was dispatched to retrieve Bravo’s surviving members. Several supporting characters from Resident Evil 2 make it to the movie: William Birkin, the Umbrella scientist who created the Golgotha Virus and eventually injected himself to keep his work from being stolen by competing pharmas, and Ada Wong, the international spy charged with acquiring a working copy of the G-Virus for a mystery client and the person Birkin is running away from. Joining them is Raccoon Police Department Chief Brian Irons, an Umbrella sellout being paid under the table to keep information about the outbreak from prying hands. The last two make significant appearances in the Resident Evil trailer. Wong is presumably left out as a plot twist for newcomers later.
Lisa Trevor from the remade Resident Evil replaces Sherry Birkin as one of Umbrella’s major specimens. Unfortunately, save for Richard Aiken, the remaining members of Alpha Team from the first game were written out to make way for Claire and Leon. Sorry, Barry Burton, Brad Vickers, Kenneth J. Sullivan, and Forest Speyer. Y’all never survived, anyway.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City uses the events of Resident Evil 2 as a premise to kick off the rest of the story. Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) is a hard-nosed student journalist and humanitarian who is onto Umbrella from the start. She has suspected the pharma of double-dealing as a trafficking operation since childhood but was never taken seriously — until the Raccoon City Destruction Incident in 1998, that is, which transformed everyone she knows and loves into mindless killing machines. As in the second game, Claire returns to her hometown in search of her brother Chris; originally, Resident Evil 2 is set two months after the first game, hence Chris is on his own private mission, fighting remnants of Umbrella somewhere in Europe. Here, Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell) is back home where he belongs and the siblings immediately reunite.
In the rebooted Resident Evil movie, Claire plays back a videotape revealing Umbrella’s inner workings, prompting S.T.A.R.S. to send two teams to investigate these cannibalistic murders. Bravo disappears into the thicket, and Alpha is instructed to eyeball the area and rescue any survivors. Led by Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper), Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), and Richard Aiken (Chad Rook) crash land their helicopter and take refuge in an abandoned mansion. Chris reluctantly allows Claire to join them. While all this is going on, Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia) recovers evidence of corruption from within Raccoon Police Department itself, no thanks to Chief Brian Irons (Donal Logue), and is unexpectedly thrust into the heart of the outbreak on his first day as cop. Both groups eventually co-op.
Significant scenes from the games can be glimpsed from the Resident Evil trailer. There’s William Birkin (Neal McDonough) in the throes of developing the t-Virus and eventually using it on himself and — in classic Shou Tucker fashion — his daughter. His and Lisa Trevor’s (Marina Mazepa) mutated versions can be seen attacking Alpha Team and Leon Kennedy as they wrestle their way out of the chaos. The grisly picture of an Umbrella whitecoat chomping away on a living human is also present in the previews. Claire’s propensity for motorcycle customization makes repeated cameos as well. She’s driving a red Harley-Davidson in Welcome to Raccoon City.
Even the cast’s outfits are entirely source-accurate, from Claire’s red leather jacket to Alpha Team’s S.T.A.R.S. uniforms. The only character looking a touch out of whack is Leon Kennedy; the character is significantly race-bent in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, but his distinctive grit certainly screams through.
Not shown in the Resident Evil trailer, but the central antagonist of the reboot is presumably the t-Virus from the first Resident Evil, not the G-Virus from the second — despite William Birkin not having led the Tyrant project at all. Birkin was one of Oswell E. Spencer, Edward Ashford, and James Marcus’s juniors; Spencer and his colleagues created the t-Virus, while Birkin originated Golgotha. It would make rightful sense to go with Tyrant over the G-Virus considering Birkin’s daughter and wife, Sherry and Annette, are absent from Welcome to Raccoon City. Sherry Birkin served a crucial purpose to the plot of Resident Evil 2, given her genetic ties to Birkin’s Golgotha form; the G-Virus was modeled after Birkin’s genetic makeup, while the t-Virus was more impersonal. Lisa Trevor was also infected with the G-Virus, though the effects on her body are decidedly more brutal. As for Albert Wesker, a surprise double agent working for Umbrella, his intentions and significance to the franchise aren’t made obvious in the Resident Evil trailer, though longtime fans definitely know what to expect.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City revolves around Claire Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and Alpha Team, as they struggle to contain an ongoing zombie outbreak in their Midwestern hometown of Raccoon City. It stars Kaya Scodelario as Claire, Robbie Amell as Chris Redfield, Tom Hopper as Albert Wesker, Hannah John-Kamen as Jill Valentine, Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy, Donal Logue as Chief Brian Irons, Neal McDonough as Dr. William Birkin, Lily Gao as Ada Wong, Chad Rook as Richard Aiken, and Marina Mazepa as Lisa Trevor. Horror thriller vet and Resident Evil fan Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) wrote and directed the film. It comes out on November 24.