You don’t need to be a fan of the Resident Evil games or movies to enjoy Netflix’s new Resident Evil TV show. While there are Easter eggs, of course, the series is it’s own, unique spin on the popular franchise. The story is new, as are many of the characters. But, there’s one character whose name should ring bells for even casual Resident Evil fans. Albert Wesker, an iconic villain from the games, appears in the show where he’s played by Fringe and John Wick star Lance Reddick. He’s very different from his depiction in the games though, and Reddick says this is intentional
“This Wesker, although very very much based on the Wesker in the games, isn’t exactly him,” he tells SYFY WIRE. “For those people who are fans of the games, I will say that it’s not just arbitrary. It’s a plot point and you understand why at the end of the season.”
By the finale, viewers will understand why Reddick isn’t playing the classic Albert Wesker they know from the games — although it’s a little more complicated than that.
**Warning: This interview contains spoilers for the entire first season of Resident Evil.**
Reddick’s Albert Wesker isn’t like the Albert Wesker from the games because he’s not playing Albert Wesker. He’s actually playing a clone of Albert Wesker, and two other clones named Bert and Alby. And, in a flashback sequence, he does indeed briefly play that Albert Wesker.
The Albert Wesker from the games is an imposing figure, rarely seen without his ominous black sunglasses. The Wesker viewers meet at the start of the season can be intimidating (as seen in the scene where he coldly threatens to ruin another parent’s career during a visit to the principal’s office) but he’s a father to two teenage girls. He’s researching what will become the civilization-ending T-virus, but he’s not a stone-cold badass.
He is, it turns out, a clone of the original Albert Wesker, who appears in a flashback wearing the sleek black outfit longtime fans would expect from the video games.
“I’m calling him O.G. Wesker, basically the Wesker from the games,” Reddick says, though he explains that he was not familiar with the video games prior to taking the role and he became “enthralled” with the version of Wesker he plays the majority of the show before learning about the scope of his backstory.
The O.G. Wesker was, prior to the events of the 2022 timeline of the show, doing illicit research with the help of three clones of himself — Albert, Alby, and Bert. When Umbrella finds out, Wesker kills Alby in an attempt to erase evidence, but the other two clones survive. Albert becomes a researcher for Umbrella, raising two daughters whose blood he’s harvesting to keep his own cloned body stable. Bert is a prisoner, though when things are going down towards the end of the season he’s freed and attempts to impersonate Albert, though he eventually becomes an ally.
Reddick says that it was a challenge to play all four characters and make them feel distinct from the “main” Albert Wesker.
“It’s Albert’s story. But once Bert came in, he was almost such a different character that I felt I had to find him so he wasn’t a spin-off of Albert,” he explains. “In terms of personality types, if Albert is the oldest — the hyper-responsible one — and Bert’s the youngest who is kind of a slob, “whatever man, I’ll get to it,” Alby is the middle one who just wants everybody to make peace. So, that’s how I approached the three of them.”
“In some ways, even though he was the least prominent of the characters and he was only in one scene, he was the hardest character for me to define was Alby,” Reddick admits.
O.G. Wesker was a challenge, too. “What was hard about that character is that, because he’s so iconic and such a particular type of thing, the biggest challenge there was to make him three-dimensional and not a two-dimensional mustache-twirling villain,” he says, describing Wesker as “so hyper-alpha and almost a pure psychopath with no conscience.”
The first season of Resident Evil is now streaming on Netflix.
See more of Lance Reddick in the John Wick films, now streaming on Peacock.