The ‘Resident Evil’ movies could probably go on forever. There’s seemingly no serious narrative goal, and each installment is little more than a guilty pleasure for its fans. While the latest sequel, ‘Resident Evil: Retribution,’ debuted to the lowest numbers since the first film, its opening weekend box office take is still not much lower than the series best. They’re not huge money makers, but they are pretty consistent, and it shouldn’t be overlooked that they also earn about 70% of their total gross overseas.

So, as the final cliff-hanging moment of ‘Retribution’ promises, yes, there will be a part six.
That isn’t to say that the final scene will have anything to do with the plot of the next movie. Each ‘RE’ film has ended with a hint of continuation, but they don’t always pick up directly from the previous installment in perfect serial fashion. And even when they do, as in the way ‘Retribution’ begins with the last scene from ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife,’ they might immediately move on. ‘Retribution,’ for instance, quickly disposes of the initial freighter setting, relocating Alice and the action to an undersea complex in the Russian Arctic.

Will anyone care if ‘Resident Evil: [Title to Be Added Later]’ doesn’t actually take place in the White House nor involve Alice and friends defending the landmark from the infected and mutated millions that we see surrounding the place? It’s a neat add-on for ‘Retribution’ given that we’ve got a presidential election coming up, even if there’s very little relevance involved, but depending on what’s going on in Washington for real in two or three years it could provide a more or less interesting backdrop. “Zombie Romney” has a nice ring to it, no?

Of course, the ‘RE’ series isn’t exactly concerned with political and social subtext like George Romero’s zombie movies, and we just don’t see it doing a whole lot with the location in that way, especially given that they need to be primarily accessible to the international audience. The White House simply provides a recognizable set piece for our global bearing, like the buried Las Vegas strip in ‘Resident Evil: Extinction’ or the artificial Times Square, Red Square and Shibuyu Square in ‘Retribution.’

All that the next ‘RE’ sequel really needs is any easily explained (but not necessarily logical) scenario that can barely fit with what’s happened before, plus a lot of slow-motion action and, most importantly, Milla Jovovich in a tight outfit.

Jovovich is, unfortunately, the one thing that isn’t everlasting, and even she admits that she has to stop at some point. Or, at least take a mentoring backseat to a younger lead. Too bad she doesn’t actually have clones like her character does. But at least she will return for the sixth movie along with her husband, writer-director-producer Paul W.S. Anderson. There was a time when they had planned on shooting 'Resident Evil' 5 and 6 back to back, but Anderson scrapped that idea, which fits more with his usual attitude that each of these movies is developed from scratch once they’re given the go-ahead, with concentration on the story at hand rather than an overarching plot.

Anderson does claim to have an outline for where the next part will go, however, and does expect it to be the final installment. He has said that six movies means two full trilogies, though it’s hard to see how he means for the first three films to be a complete arc or all that separate from the two (later three) films since. The only real difference is that the second trio will, when finished, be distinguishable as the shot-in-3D group.

Other clues we have for where the ‘RE’ series will go next are slim. Anderson says that since it will be the finale, part six will see a lot more of the characters killed. But we’ve always seen main characters die in this series, and with ‘Retribution’ we saw some of them resurrected, so unless Alice dies, that sort of promise means nothing. And even Alice’s death doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal since there could always be doubt that it was the real Alice we saw die. Or, since Anderson tends to borrow from the Alien franchise, he could always just continue with one of her clones.

Anderson has also acknowledged that the movie will be influenced by the new ‘Resident Evil 6’ video game, which probably just means he’ll lift some of its new creatures, such as the variety of C-virus-mutated “j’avo.” The fact that the new game involves the U.S. president presumably has no link to ‘Retribution’ ending in the White House, but who knows? And who cares, right? We can bet on seeing some very cool-looking insect-like zombies and flying zombies, the latter of which we see teased in the closing shot of the current film. And so plot details be damned.

One thing we do hope, even if part six is the very last ‘Resident Evil’ movie ever, is that it still ends with another “to be continued” sort of cliffhanger, because that’s such a major part of this series, and no kind of complete closure of the book on these films is going to be satisfying anyway.

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