Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich (who’re also married in real life) will finish their time working on the Resident Evil franchise in early 2017, which is when Resident Evil 6 a.k.a. The Final Chapter is set to open in theaters. Principal photography on the project starts in South Africa in September 2015, with Jovovich’s former costar Ali Larter – who debuted as zombie outbreak survivor Claire Redfield in Resident Evil: Extinction back in 2007 – confirmed to return for this new installment.
Resident Evil 6 will follow through on the cliffhanger ending from Resident Evil: Retribution, as Alice (having regained her super-human abilities), Claire, and their allies stage their final stand against the Red Queen in order to save humanity from extinction. Larter has confirmed that this film will indeed be the last of Anderson’s Resident Evil films – marking the end of an impressive fifteen-year run, since the first Resident Evil opened in theaters in 2002.
Larter was asked by IGN if Resident Evil 6 will, in fact, be ‘The Final Chapter’, to which she responded “I know it is.” She also expressed her gratitude for being part of the series, as well as her admiration for Resident Evil as the rare action franchise driven by (multiple) female characters:
“… I love that it’s not seven men and one woman. I mean, these are two women [Alice and Claire], and they’re not competing with each other. You know, there are such easy clichés these two could fall into, but this is definitely a female power movie… It’s baffling [female action movies aren’t more popular], but I do believe it’s changing. I mean, look at things like Lucy and other things. I do believe it’s happening.”
Anderson’s Resident Evil films have long been criticized for being stylish yet vapid action movies (based on a video game franchise that’s far more rooted in the horror genre), but one of their strong points is their portrayal of female characters in ways that are not so stereotypical for the action genre (as noted by Larter). The only similar film property that’s achieved near as much longevity is fellow Sony Pictures franchise Underworld – long headlined by Kate Beckinsale – which has a fifth installment arriving in late 2016. So, on those grounds alone, Anderson and his cast’s run on Resident Evil is to be commended.
Larter, for her part, also promised that The Final Chapter will provide a satisfying conclusion for fans of Anderson’s Resident Evil films:
“We are not allowed to say one thing. I am held to secrecy, but what I can tell you is that the script is amazing. They’re really wrapping up the whole series, so that just makes it a little more poignant. To be able to come back and reprise my role as Claire and my relationship with Alice, with Umbrella Corp. — you know, I’m excited to get back in it. I think the fans are just going to be beyond excited.”
Resident Evil 6 will tie up both Alice and Claire’s overarching story threads from Resident Evil films past and should do likewise for other yet-to-be-confirmed returning characters; that includes Ada Wong (Li Bingbing), Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb), and presumably Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield, Claire’s older brother. If nothing else, at least fans will get a definite answer, regarding what was going on with the Redfields during the events of the fifth installment, Resident Evil: Retribution (since neither Claire nor Chris were featured in that movie) and how that affects Claire’s relationship with Alice, in the face of the Red Queen apocalypse.
As for the future: it remains to be seen if the Resident Evil movie property gets rebooted after The Finale Chapter, but as a video game film adaptations renaissance might be upon us, that increases the probability of life after Anderson and Jovovich for the Resident Evil cinematic franchise.
Resident Evil 6/Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens in U.S. theaters on January 27th, 2017.