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The original Resident Evil film franchise ran for six films from 2002 until 2016, and made more than $1 billion along the way. The one through line across the entire series, from the early days at the Umbrella Manor to the full-blown end of the world, was Milla Jovovich’s Alice — a new character created for the films.
But did you know director Paul W.S. Anderson almost killed her off during her final adventure?
In an archived interview with SYFY WIRE, Anderson opened up about the evolution of the series, of which he produced and directed most every installment, and the hard choices involved with bringing it to an end. If you need a refresher, the franchise ended with Alice still alive and well, winning her final battle against the forces of Umbrella, restoring her memories, and driving off into the sunset to take on the remaining remnants of all those zombie monsters still roaming the globe.
That final film also revived some of the concepts and visuals from the first film, a move Anderson said makes the franchise perfect for reevaluation. With the entire film saga now streaming on Peacock, it’s the perfect time to go back and dig in for all those Easter eggs you might’ve missed.
“A lot of those elements were in my mind from the first movie. The relationship between Alice and the Red Queen, that her memory loss may not be as coincidental as it seemed. The agenda of the Umbrella Corporation and the T Virus. Those were ideas I had back in 2000 writing the screenplay. It was just in my wildest dreams that I kind of hoped there'd be a franchise that would let me tell that story,” Anderson explained back in 2017. “I'd kind of done everything I wanted to do in this world. I still had a lot of ideas I wanted to incorporate, and that's one reason this movie is non-stop action. I feel I've accomplished everything I wanted to do in the post-apocalyptic setting.”
Looking back at the tough decisions involved with bringing a six-film saga to a close, Anderson opened up about the development process and the different ideas considered along the way. The biggest change? He almost ended the story with Alice six feet under. But even for a franchise about the end of the world, that type of finale still felt a bit too dark.
“There was one draft where I killed Alice. It was just so bleak, that it felt like it would be a slap in the face for the fans who followed her over six movies and 15 years. That the end of her story would end in tragedy. So, I wanted something more uplifting,” he said. “The actual details of the final scenes came together as we were shooting, and we had a slightly different ending that I knew wasn't right, but I thought we could come up with something that could emerge organically as we were shooting the movie. One day, we were shooting some motorbike stuff, and I said to MIlla [Jovovich] that I think this is what the end of the movie will be. She gave me a range of different emotions until that one moment where she looks in the mirror and smiles. When I saw that, I said 'Bam, that's the end of the franchise. That's our closing shot.’”
The entire six-film run of Resident Evil films — including Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter — are all streaming now on Peacock.