Netflix’s Resident Evil Series: How Albert Wesker’s Convoluted Story Fits In

Netflix’s Resident Evil Series: How Albert Wesker’s Convoluted Story Fits In

The Resident Evil franchise is being adapted into live action once again. But while previous theatrical movies were very loose adaptations of the source material, the new Netflix series looks to build on the established continuity of the Resident Evil game. And this time, the series’ most fascinating yet convoluted villain, Albert Wesker, is the star of the show.

How exactly does Wesker fit into this new series, and how does it all tie into his confusing history of deaths and resurrections? Let’s review what we know so far.

Albert Wesker: STARS Captain or Umbrella Agent?

Like series mainstays Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker made his debut in the original Resident Evil in 1996. The game features Wesker as the captain of the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (or STARS), a task force special call to investigate a series of mysterious murders on the outskirts of Raccoon City. But while Wesker initially comes across as a helpful ally when the player explores the zombie-infested hallways of Spencer Mansion, he is eventually revealed to have a sinister agenda of his own.

Wesker betrays his own team at the climax of the game, revealing himself to be a double agent working for the Umbrella Corporation. The zombie outbreak was caused by exposure to Umbrella’s experimental bioweapon T-virus, and Wesker’s job is to observe the zombies and report back on their military effectiveness. Wesker is apparently killed in a lab deep within the mansion, but not before he unleashes Umbrella’s deadliest creation: the Tyrant.

However, Wesker manages to survive his brush with death. That would become something of a recurring theme with the character.

The Many Deaths of Albert Wesker

Wesker went on to play a major role in several Resident Evil sequels and spin-offs, most notably 2000’s Resident Evil Code: Veronica, 2002’s Resident Evil Zero, 2005’s Resident Evil 4, and 2009’s Resident Evil 5.

Over the course of these games, players learn the full and complicated history of Albert Wesker. He began his career as a promising virologist who rose through the ranks of the Umbrella Corp and colluded with fellow researcher William Birkin. At the time of the original game, Wesker plans to betray his employer and sell the secrets of the T-Virus to a rival corporation. And despite being impaled by Tyrant, Wesker survives after injecting himself with an experimental version of the T-Virus. And he not only survives, he gains strength, speed, and glowing red eyes, to boot.

Wesker achieved maximum performance in Resident Evil 5.

Wesker achieved maximum performance in Resident Evil 5.

Wesker returns several times over the course of the series, sometimes fighting directly against heroes like Chris and Claire Redfield and other times quietly pulling everyone’s strings behind the scenes. But the common thread throughout the games, aside from Wesker constantly faking his death, is that he’s obsessed with stealing Umbrella’s research and unleashing it on the world. He believes that humanity has reached an evolutionary dead end, and only by unlocking the full potential of the T-Virus can the species reach its true potential.

All of this comes to a head in Resident Evil 5, when Wesker reappears once again and conspires with the Tricell Corporation to release the Uroboros virus across the world. Although Wesker is more powerful than ever at this point, Chris and his allies discover that his former nemesis relies on a constant supply of a special serum to stay alive. If he takes too much or too little, Wesker could die.

After a final battle with his old nemesis Chris, Wesker finally dies a mortal death. Or did he do it?

Ultimately, Wesker’s luck runs out when he overdoses on the serum and crashes into an active volcano. After a final battle with his old nemesis Chris, Wesker finally dies a mortal death. Or did he do it?

Albert Wesker in Netflix’s Resident Evil

Netflix’s first trailers for Resident Evil have revealed a surprising detail about the series. While it may not be set in the exact same universe as the Capcom games, the new series exists in a world where some version of those stories have happened. That includes Wesker’s death in 2009.

The Netflix series takes place in two separate time periods: one in 2022 and the other in a zombie-ravaged 2036. Wesker (played by The Wire’s Lance Reddick) is a major character in the 2022 story. The trailers hint that Wesker is once again working as a virologist for the resurgent Umbrella Corp., which has rebuilt Raccoon City on the ashes of the original city. Even more surprising, Wesker now has two daughters whose story forms the backbone of both timelines. No word yet on whether Wesker’s son Jake Muller, who plays a major role in Resident Evil 6, will appear in the Netflix series.

Resident Evil – New images of the Netflix series

Showrunner Andrew Dabb previously confirmed to IGN that Wesker perished in the final battle in Resident Evil 5 and didn’t fake his death like he has so many times in the past. Somehow Wesker is back and it seems relatively saner than he was in most games. Is it possible that we know that Wesker was some kind of deranged clone and that the original has remained loyal to Umbrella all this time?

Whatever the secret of Wesker’s return, it’s clear he’s still pursuing his ultimate agenda of forcibly advancing human evolution. The post-apocalyptic story of 2036 suggests that Wesker will eventually unleash his creation on the world, leaving a shrinking population to fight for his survival against billions of zombies and the worst monsters Umbrella has to offer.

How do you think Wesker survived his death in Resident Evil 5? How will the Netflix series build on the basis of the games? Let us know your thoughts on him in the comments below. And for more Netflix Geeked Week coverage, check out everything that’s been revealed at the event so far.

Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Let him lend a machete to your intellectual thicket following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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