5 Things You Might Not Know About the Resident Evil Films
The T-Virus was a wrinkle cream
Among the various iterations of the Resident Evil lore across various media, the T-Virus has several different origin stories. It wasn’t until late in the series, in games such as Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 0, that Capcom laid out its canonical story for the discovery and creation of the monster-making virus. In other media, creators had to invent their own.
In the film series, the Umbrella Corporation discovered the crazy attributes of the T-Virus by accident while trying to create an anti-aging wrinkle cream. A commercial was originally shot as a stand-alone piece to be used in the second movie, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but ended up being used as a viral video trailer instead. You can still see the commercial in the background in some scenes.
In the novel series by S.D. Perry, adapted from the video games, the T-Virus was created accidentally by a pair of scientists working on finding a way to regenerate tissue for medical applications. In the novels, the scientists were killed by Umbrella for their breakthrough and the research corrupted, all of which was brought to light by the son of the scientists, Victor Darius, a man working inside Umbrella to bring it down.
One greedy dude (and one idiot) caused the end of the world
Umbrella is blamed for the havoc wrought by the T-Virus, for creating it and using it as a bio-organic weapon, but in the film universe it ultimately wasn’t Umbrella’s arrogance that got everyone killed – it was one greedy guy trying to steal the virus. That guy is Spencer, a character in the first film who attempts to steal the T-Virus before Alice blows the lid off what the company is doing in The Hive. Spencer releases the virus in the lab to cover his escape; everyone dies.
That’s the T-Virus release that eventually ends the world. But it would have, or could have, been contained in The Hive if not for the actions of one William Birkin. The film version of Birkin, who appears in Resident Evil: Retribution, was originally played by Jason Isaacs in a cameo role in the first movie. He wasn’t really a character until the most recent film, but he has one important line in Resident Evil: “We’re re-opening The Hive. I want to know what went on down there.” (Birkin is also the character to blame for the release of the virus in Resident Evil 2, although in the game he intentionally injects himself, and Umbrella soldiers break vials of the T-Virus when they attack him.)
In the opening of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Umbrella opens the doors to the lab, monsters get out, and Raccoon City is destroyed. That leads to the inevitable destruction of the world. In fact, the destruction of everything can be blamed on the soldiers in the first film not adequately reporting their findings to the home base. But really, knowing the kind of crap Umbrella was working on in The Hive, who the hell would be dumb enough to open that door?