Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Easter Eggs and References Explained

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is practically a love letter to the games, so you know it's filled with great Easter eggs.

Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City
Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

This article contains spoilers for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City may not cleanly break the dreaded “video game movie curse,” but it is packed with Easter eggs and references that will surely please long-time Resident Evil fans who feel that some of the previous big-screen adaptations of this franchise strayed too far from the source material.

While Welcome to Raccoon City director Johannes Roberts previously talked to us about his desire to stay true to the games, it’s genuinely shocking to see all of the big and small ways that the movie borrows characters, moments, lines, and ideas directly from the games. While the film also makes some notable changes to Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, it’s clear that far more attention was paid to honoring some of the most iconic elements of those legendary horror titles.

These are some of the most notable Easter eggs and references we spotted in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, but be sure to let us know about which ones we missed in the comments below.

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Raccoon City

– In case the title didn’t make it clear, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City emphasizes the town of Raccoon City significantly more than the previous live-action Resident Evil movies (and even some of the games) did. However, the movie still tries to replicate some of the town’s biggest landmarks and general layout as closely as possible.

– One very interesting Raccoon City landmark that the movie recreates is the Raccoon City Orphanage. The orphanage was prominently featured in the Resident Evil 2 remake, and while the film changes some elements of its location and design, it does retain the orphanage’s mysterious past as a secret Umbrella facility used for testing.

Chris Redfield

– Just like in the games, Welcome to Raccoon City‘s Chris Redfield was an orphan who grew up to become a talented member of the elite S.T.A.R.S. team. Unlike in the games, the film version of Chris Redfield was raised in Raccoon City and has a personal connection to William Birkin.

Welcome to Raccoon City implies that Chris is a highly-skilled marksman, which was certainly true to the video game version of the character as well.

Claire Redfield

– In Welcome to Raccoon City, Claire Redfield rides into town with a truck driver. While Claire doesn’t hitch a ride into town in the games, there is a truck driver in Resident Evil 2 who runs over a zombie on their way into town and later causes a massive explosion. A very similar sequence of events is recreated in the movie.

– Claire’s look in Welcome to Raccoon City is clearly modeled after her Resident Evil 2 remake appearance rather than her original Resident Evil 2 appearance (which is to say that the hot pants are gone and the red leather jacket and jeans are in).

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– While Claire doesn’t ride a motorcycle into town as she does in the Resident Evil 2 remake, she does eventually commandeer Chris’ motorcycle.

Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine is still the capable S.T.A.R.S. member in Welcome to Raccoon City that she is in the Resident Evil games, but the film version of the character is spared from some of the more embarrassing lines from the original game. Still, the Welcome to Raccoon City version of Jill Valentine does reference one of Valentine’s best/worst video game lines by talking about a “Jill Sandwich” while eating at a diner.

Leon Kennedy

While there is a young cop called Leon Kennedy in both the Resident Evil games and Welcome to Raccoon City, that’s roughly where the similarities between the two characters end. For as much as the movie changes about Leon, though, he still ends up sharing most of his screentime with Claire, which is a clear callback to the duo’s leading roles in Resident Evil 2.

Albert Wesker

– While Welcome to Raccoon City‘s Albert Wesker is essentially an Umbrella agent working within S.T.A.R.S. (just as he was in the games), the film version of the character isn’t the genetically enhanced soldier who was practically raised by Umbrella that he was in the games. He actually seems like a fairly normal cop who is eventually recruited by Umbrella and seems to be unaware of many of their plans and activities.

– Just like in the games, Wesker asks the S.T.A.R.S. team to make the questionable decision to split up inside Spencer Mansion. By ignoring one of the biggest rules to surviving a horror movie, Wesker hopes to fulfill the secret objective Umbrella has tasked him with.

Ada Wong

Beloved Resident Evil character Ada Wong shows up during Welcome to Raccoon City‘s post-credits sequence where it’s heavily implied that she is the one who rescues (and perhaps once recruited) Albert Wesker. This scene seems to be setting up the events of the sequel we may or may not eventually get.

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RPD Station

– The Raccoon City Police Station is lovingly recreated pretty much as it appears in Resident Evil 2 (with obvious influences from the Resident Evil 2 remake’s much-improved visuals and the detailed designs they allowed for). Actually, the main entrance to the police station looks pretty much exactly like it does in the games, right down to the large staircases behind the front desk.

– A version of the operations conference room from Resident Evil 2 and 3 makes a brief appearance in the movie, though its design has been slightly altered.

Spencer Mansion

– The iconic Spencer Mansion from the first Resident Evil game plays a major role in Welcome to Raccoon City and will instantly be familiar to long-time Resident Evil fans. From the entrance hall to the dining room, it’s clear that the film’s design crew was trying to recreate the look of the mansion as it appeared in the games.

– There’s a scene in Welcome to Raccoon City in which Wesker plays a few notes of Moonlight Sonata on a piano in order to unlock a secret door. This is a clear callback to a puzzle in the original game that required Jill to play Moonlight Sonata on the piano in order to unlock a secret room containing a Gold Emblem.

– Just like in the games, Spencer Mansion’s subterranean area is a massive Umbrella research facility that features an array of labs and horrors (though the giant shark sadly doesn’t make an appearance in the movie).

S.T.A.R.S., RPD, and the Umbrella Corporation

– S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Squads) plays a prominent role in Welcome to Raccoon City. The exact members of the S.T.A.R.S. team are the same in both the movie and the original game, though there is a sense that the squad in the film consists of the officers who are on the night shift rather than a hand-picked selection of the very best designed to help local law enforcement.

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– The non-S.T.A.R.S. members of the RPD are represented by Leon Kennedy and Chief Brian Irons in Welcome to Raccoon City. While the movie version of Irons isn’t exactly the mysterious potential serial killer that he was in the games, he’s still a bit of an asshole who mostly tries to serve his own purposes.

– Just like in the games, Welcome to Raccoon City‘s version of Umbrella is still an evil pharmaceutical company that has a stranglehold over the town and a fondness for creating deadly viruses for…reasons. Their logo is also prominently featured throughout the town, and many of the town’s most notable locations (RPD, the orphanage, and Spencer Mansion) are essentially fronts for elaborate Umbrella facilities.

– We get a brief look at Umbrella Security Service (Umbrella’s private military force) in Welcome to Raccoon City. The Security Service is seen in the film wearing their trademark gasmasks and going to extremes to keep people from leaving town and potentially spreading the infection.

William and Sherry Birkin

– Wiliam Birkin first appears in Welcome to Raccoon City as the twisted Umbrellas scientist interested in using viruses to enhance our abilities and longevity, he soon becomes the disgusting mutation that he also eventually turns into by the end of Resident Evil 2 (complete with the eerie giant eye on his shoulder).

– William Birkin’s daughter Sherry is also prominently featured in Welcome to Raccoon City. Unlike the games, though, where Sherry is shown wandering alone before meeting up with Claire Redfield, Sherry spends most of her time with her father and mother in Welcome to Racoon City before eventually meeting up with Claire, Leon, Chris, and Jill.

Lisa Trevor

Lisa Trevor may have been cut out of the PS1 version of Resident Evil, but she is prominently featured in Welcome to Raccoon City. While the movie takes some liberties with her backstory, she’s still a slightly monstrous figure who unwillingly served as an Umbrella test experiment for most of her life. Welcome to Raccoon City also recreates Trevor’s look from the 2002 Resident Evil remake (complete with the creepy mask/sack over her head).

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The Rest of the Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Cast

– Often forgotten S.T.A.R.S. member Richard Aiken makes a brief appearance in Welcome to Raccoon City (though he isn’t bit by a giant snake this time around).

– We find conspiracy theorist Ben Bertolucci locked in a jail cell in Welcome to Raccoon City, which is also where we first encounter him in Resident Evil 2. Generally speaking, Bertolucci plays a much larger role in the movie than he does in the game.

– Beloved S.T.A.R.S. pilot Brad Vickers makes an appearance in Welcome to Raccoon City, though the movie strangely continues a Resident Evil tradition by slightly changing the circumstances of his death.

– Annette Birkin is shown throughout Welcome to Raccoon City, but she’s portrayed as more of an unaware housewife rather than the Umbrella researcher she was in the games.

The Zombies

– While we see some of the townsfolk transforming into zombies during the early parts of Welcome to Raccoon City (which is a slight change from the games where transformations are much quicker), one of the first “full” zombies we see is in Spencer Mansion. In fact, that zombie’s introduction scene is essentially a recreation of the famous zombie introduction scene from 1996’s Resident Evil (complete with its slow head tilt towards the camera from an over-the-shoulder perspective).

– One of the zombies (or infected) appears to have written the words “Itchy, tasty” in blood on a window. This is a direct reference to an animal keeper’s journal from the original Resident Evil game which features those same words. The words “itchy, tasty” essentially became one of Resident Evil‘s earliest memes.

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Dogs and Lickers

– The famous “Zombie Dogs” from Resident Evil (which are responsible for some of the franchise’s best scares) appear in Welcome to Raccoon City, albeit in a slightly different way. There’s only one zombie dog in the movie, and he’s the formerly loyal companion of the aforementioned truck driver. Of course, it is still as creepy and aggressive in the movie as it is in the games.

– The famous “Licker” creature from Resident Evil 2 makes an appearance in Welcome to Raccoon City, but it’s not entirely clear how one of the town’s villagers became so mutated so quickly. Given that the Licker is found in an Umbrella research lab, it’s possible that it was the result of an older experiment and simply escaped at some point.

The Ashford Twins

One of Welcome to Raccoon City‘s most fascinating Easter eggs comes when Claire and Leon discover footage of two young children being experimented on by Umbrella. These are almost certainly the Ashford twins: the children of Umbrella executive Alexander Ashford. The twins don’t appear in the games until Code Veronica, so it’s possible that this plot point could be setting up a movie sequel.

The Train and the Rocket Launcher

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City‘s ending pretty much echoes the ending of Resident Evil 2 in which our protagonists escape from the “soon to be destroyed” Umbrella facility via an underground train. Leon even shoots the mutated form of William Birkin with a rocket launcher during this sequence. The movie has to find a way to quickly explain why there is a rocket launcher on the train, but I suppose you can’t let a good Easter egg go.