2021 is a big year for Capcom, one of the world’s largest game developers. The company’s latest addition to their highest selling franchise, “Resident Evil: Village,” was scheduled for a May 2021 release date. The game will feature the franchise’s new face, yet another white brunette man, named Ethan Winters. However, it also features a rather shocking appearance from Jill Valentine’s former field partner and confidante, Chris Redfield.
Aside from the release of “Resident Evil: Village,” Capcom’s newest movie endeavor, a reboot of the “Resident Evil” film franchise, is also scheduled for release in 2021. With so much content to explore and unpack, now is the perfect time to examine the franchise’s first white brunette man: Chris Redfield.
As one of the franchise’s most important characters, Chris has enjoyed the limelight in several games and has made appearances in media outside of the main games. Learn more about his story, his character development and the portrayal of Chris Redfield in the movies.
Character Conception and Design
Chris Redfield was initially conceived way back in 1996 by two pioneers of the survival horror genre: Shinji Mikami and Tokuro Fujiwara. The way Chris was designed was to make him the polar opposite of his long-time partner and foil, video game badass Jill Valentine. While Jill was meant to evoke speed and intelligence, Chris was meant to showcase strength and endurance.
Even their respective skill sets and in-game statistics reflected this dichotomy. If faced by a fearsome opponent like the first game’s Tyrant boss or Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head, Jill is more likely to run circles around them and use her wits and the environment. Chris, on the other hand, is designed to look like he can duke it out with these monsters in hand-to-hand combat.
Over the years, Chris Redfield’s design and appearance has changed immeasurably, but the artists and other creative minds behind him have stuck to a few standards. First, Chris is nearly always in shades of green whereas Jill is in blue. Second, his hair is always short and brown, befitting his military background.
There are a few exceptions to these design rules, such as Chris Redfield’s sailor outfit from one of the later games. The official redesign for Chris in “Resident Evil: Village,” which features him in a black outfit, serves to highlight that the former S.T.A.R.S. hero may be more sinister now.
Chris Redfield Before the Games
Chris is the older brother of Claire Redfield, the protagonist of the second “Resident Evil” game. Prior to the events of the games, little is known about the Redfield siblings. They lost their parents at an early stage of their lives as they seem to be the only family members they have.
When he was of legal age, Chris enlisted with the United States Air Force. His USAF training enabled him to pilot both airplanes and helicopters, a skill that would become increasingly useful in his later career. He was also an excellent marksman and great with fighting with a knife in close combat.
After he retired from the Air Force, Chris Redfield joined the ranks of Racoon City’s Special Tactics and Rescue Service or S.T.A.R.S. During this time, he gained more renown for his sharpshooting skills and made friends with Jill Valentine, his eventual partner and long-time confidante. Little did either of them know that their lives were about to change.
Chris Redfield in the Games
Although there is a conspicuous lack of Chris Redfield in the movies, fans of the games will undoubtedly be familiar with some of his greatest exploits. But for those who are curious as to what kind of video game protagonist Chris Redfield is, learning about his character biography is essential. It becomes clear that Chris is not the kind of hero who can buy houses like a Skyrim protag can. As his character undergoes more and more trauma over the years and faces more mad men, some of their darkness may have rubbed off on him. By his latest appearance, Chris Redfield may no longer be a hero at all.
Below are his major appearances in the “Resident Evil” franchise as well as how his story develops.
In the first game, Chris and his Alpha Team are sent to the Arkalay Mountains near Raccoon City to locate the missing Bravo Team. The first team has been sent to investigate claims of cannibalism and ferocious attacks on the residents of the mountainous region. However, Chris and his team are forced to take refuge in an abandoned mansion after they’re attacked by packs of zombified hounds. The mansion turns out to be the source of the attacks, serving as a clandestine research facility for the Umbrella Corporation.
Inside its dim halls and sickening laboratories, the idealistic Chris discovers that the corporation has far more insidious plans and that they’ve infiltrated even the S.T.A.R.S. team. Chris’s supervisor and mentor, Albert Wesker, turns out to be an Umbrella spy who has deliberately lured the S.T.A.R.S. teams to the mansion to test out the Tyrant, a Bio-Organic Weapon. Chris defeats the Tyrant and multiple horrific monsters in the mansion. However, Wesker escapes and Chris swears to track him down and put and end to Umbrella.
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
Chris Redfield did not appear in the games concerning the downfall of Raccoon City. However, his next major appearance showed that he has been busy tracking down and eliminating Umbrella bases around the world.
Two years after the Mansion Incident, he tracks down Wesker to an Antarctic base after he received reports that the madman had captured his sister, Claire. Chris managed to rescue his sister and fought Wesker, discovering that the former solider and scientist had infected himself with the T-virus, Umbrella’s primary means of mutation. Their fight was cut short, but Chris was also reunited with Valentine at the end, and the two work together to end Umbrella once and for all.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine work for a few years under the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. During this period, they determine that more and more of Umbrella’s mutagens and viral weapons are reaching the terrorist market. Once such incident led to the events on the cruise ship, Queen Zenobia. Their investigations determine that the BSAA was causing bioterrorist attacks to bolster its power, ending with its reformation.
Although Jill Valentine is the primary protagonist of this game, Chris provides valuable backup to his partner during the entire case. This game is also famous for debuting the sailor Chris Redfield outfit, a gag ensemble that dresses up the hero as a hunky seaman.
Resident Evil 5
His next major appearance was in Africa, heading over the fictional Kijuju Autonomous Zone hot on the trial of his archenemy, Albert Wesker. Chris was travelling with a new partner, Sheva Alomar, following a disastrous assault on one of Wesker’s facilities a few years before. During the attack, Jill seemingly sacrificed herself to save Chris.
In Kijuju, Chris and Sheva discover that Wesker survived the attack and is hard at work in releasing a new and more potent virus. The deranged scientist has also somehow managed to brainwash Jill Valentine into becoming his henchman. Chris and his allies manage to destroy Wesker’s plans and kill the man himself. Jill is freed from Wesker’s mind control and goes into rehabilitation.
Resident Evil 6
Three years after Wesker’s defeat, Chris Redfield returned to hunt down Wesker’s son, who had unleashed some of his father’s work in the fictional country of Edonia. He is betrayed and captured for six months before being released to aid against another bio-organic weapon attack in China. A new organization patterned after the infamous Umbrella Corporation has stepped up and Chris, alongside other allies like Ada Wong, Piers Nevans and Leon Kennedy, manage to defeat them. After the event sof the game, Chris chooses to stay with the reformed BSAA to help overcome his guilt.
Although “Resident Evil 6” marks Chris’ last appearance as a main character in the games, he has appeared in the two subsequent games. In “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard,” he makes a short appearance near the end of the game to destroy the final boss. He also assists the game’s protagonist, Ethan Winters.
A downloadable addition to the game, “Not a Hero,” features Chris in an abbreviated adventure where he pursues the organization behind the main villains of the game. This DLC also reveals that Chris has teamed up with the reformed Umbrella Corporation or Blue Umbrella.
Chris Redfield’s next canonical appearance is in 2021’s “Resident Evil: Village.” In the trailers for the game’s release, it showcases Chris mercilessly killing Ethan Winter’s wife and abducting his child. The motivations for his sinister actions remain unclear but promised to be explored and explained in the game itself.
Chris Redfield in Other Media
Because of his importance to the franchise, Chris Redfield has appeared in media outside of the original games. Although none of his other appearances can match the sexiness of Chris Redfield the sailor. Two of his notable appearances are in the non-canon fighting game and in the licensed movies.
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Chris did not appear alongside Jill in Marvel vs Capcom 2, he did make an appearance in the game’s sequel, “Marvel vs Capcom 3.” In the game, Chris uses his leadership skills to rally the characters from other Sega franchises. He also acts as the counterpart to Captain America, a fitting role given Chris’s physique and personality.
Resident Evil Films
One major criticism of the first “Resident Evil” film franchise is how few characters from the games manage to appear in them. Instead, new characters take their place and provide little resonance to fans of the game. Jill Valentine only manages to appear in two of the movies while Chris only appears in one. The movie Chris Redfield is played by actor Wentworth Miller in “Resident Evil: Afterlife.” However, he did not grace the silver screen again after his debut appearance.
The more faithful reboot movie, coming to the big screen in late 2021, features Robbie Amell as the S.T.A.R.S. agent. The movie, titled “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” promises to present a film experience much closer to the games than the previous movies.
After over 25 years, Chris Redfield is still one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world. His story has definitely taken a darker tone and it remains to be seen if he will stay as a video game hero or a sinister force to be reckoned with.