Resident Evil Village Reveals Umbrella’s Origin Story

Resident Evil Village revealed that the sinister Umbrella Corporation came to be because its founder, Oswell Spencer, had a really lucky day.

One of the most impressive things that Resident Evil Village accomplished was recontextualizing and expanding the series’ lore. It provided explanations and major revelations about titles like RE 7 and the original Resident Evil, such as how and why one of the series’ most sinister antagonists, Oswell Spencer, founded the Umbrella Corporation.

[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Resident Evil Village.]

Oswell Spencer was a British elitist that had a life-long obsession with virology and eugenics. Not much is known about his early life, but RE Village revealed that he was a university student in the 1950s where he studied to become a physician. It was during these years that Spencer would meet his two co-founders, James Marcus and Edward Ashford, as well as go on a hiking trip to Eastern Europe that would change his life.

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Related: Resident Evil: Every GOOD Thing Umbrella Has Created

Spencer decided to go on this hike alone, despite having no experience in hiking or outdoor survival. After becoming lost and aimlessly wandering the snowy mountains and forests, Spencer collapsed outside a small village where he would be found, and saved, by RE‘s arguably most influential character, Mother Miranda. After recovering, Miranda took Spencer on as her apprentice and gave him all the knowledge he needed to pursue his own goals in the form of the Umbrella Corporation.

How RE Village Reveals Umbrella Corporation’s Origin

Resident Evil Village Reveals Umbrella's Origin Story Four Houses

During their time together, Spencer learned everything Mother Miranda knew about Megamicite, more colloquially known as The Mold. Having spent decades experimenting with The Mold, Miranda was able to explain how it can cause increased vitality and augmentation to human biology, as well as create a hive mind among those infected. Spencer, obsessed with eugenics and a belief that humanity was destined to fall, immediately saw its potential shape humanity into something he felt was more evolved. This was not a sentiment that Miranda shared, however, so they ultimately went their separate ways but remained in touch for many years because Spencer felt Mother Miranda was an important part of Umbrella.

It wasn’t long after Spencer returned home that he and his associates discovered the Progenitor Virus in West Africa. Spencer, Ashford, and Marcus founded Umbrella Pharmaceuticals to get government funding to travel to Africa and acquire samples of the virus. Spencer wrote to Miranda about this discovery and how he planned to somehow merge the Progenitor Virus and The Mold into something more contagious, ultimately developing the titular T-Virus and transforming Umbrella Pharmaceuticals into the Umbrella Corporation.

As a gesture of respect to Miranda and her impact on his life, he used the symbol that represents the Four Houses of her village as the logo for Umbrella. Thanks to their years worth of letters, Spencer’s feelings about his achievements and personal beliefs are now known and provide a clearer view of who he is. Without Resident Evil Village, this crucial and insightful look into the origins of both Umbrella and Oswell Spencer would have remained a secret he took with him to his grave.

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