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Leon Kennedy's Entire Timeline Explained

If you aren't a student of the Resident Evil series, you may wonder how Leon Kennedy went from bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rookie officer in Resident Evil 2 to monster-hunting super-soldier just a few years later. Why you question this in a world that features a global pharmaceutical company creating zombies for ... reasons ... is beyond us, but we're still here to help.


Especially if you're only a casual fan of Resident Evil, the background of one of its central protagonists has a lot of blank space. If you've ever wondered just how Leon Kennedy got to where he is, you're in the right place.

Leon has been through a lot over the years — in the Resident Evil games and the accompanying media — so we've combed through everything we can to find the events that shaped Leon Kennedy into who he is. Some of it is fairly obscure, some comes from the main games in the series itself, but all of it together is what brought us the Leon Kennedy we know and love today.

Pre-Resident Evil 2

Leon finished his time at the academy in 1998, where he had grown fascinated with the increasing crime in Raccoon City. The city had put out a call for an increased police force due to crime levels rising and a series of bizarre murders, so Leon applied and was accepted. He visited the station and received a basic introduction, then drove home in anticipation for his first day.


The night before Leon was scheduled to begin working for the RPD, he broke up with his girlfriend. He got drunk at a party afterwards and overslept, which is why he was late for his first day on the job. Being late, however, is probably what saved his life: the events of Resident Evil 2 take place on what was supposed to be Leon's first day on the job. As the city descended into chaos, a media blackout was instituted, so he had no idea what he was getting into as he drove towards Raccoon City.

In the remake, Capcom edited out a lot of this backstory, but this is how Leon started: late to his first day because of a drunken breakup.

Raccoon City - Resident Evil 2

When Leon arrives in Raccoon City, he discovers that the city is under a complete military lockdown due to the release of a biological weapon. He meets Claire Redfield, who is searching for her brother, Chris, another central protagonist in the Resident Evil series. Leon and Claire split up to look for survivors and agree to meet later at the police station.


As Leon journeys to, through, and underneath the Raccoon City Police Station, he begins to discover a massive conspiracy that leads to the pharmaceutical corporation Umbrella. He also encounters Ada Wong, who supposedly dies fighting a Tyrant during the course of RE2. Ada actually survives, and she will become a major player in the Resident Evil franchise as it moves forward.

Leon's discovery that Umbrella is behind the destruction of Raccoon City is actually what sends him down the path we see in later games. After he and Claire escape from the ruins of the city, he vows to hunt down those responsible and stop Umbrella from whatever they are planning with their biological weapons.

Special Agent Training

After the events in Raccoon City, Leon joins a secret task force called the Anti-Umbrella Pursuit and Investigation Team. He excels at his training and remains focused on battling Umbrella and stopping the bioweapons they manufactured. The team was actually created in response to what had happened in Raccoon City; as one of the few survivors of that massive outbreak, Leon was an obvious choice to join the organization.


Leon's team answers directly to the president of the United States, they have top-level security clearance, and they are at the front lines of many bioterrorist attacks. They are also top secret themselves; if any of the team were captured, they were disowned by the organization, as if they never existed.

During his training as a special agent, Leon begins to piece together the size of the enemy they are facing in Umbrella. He also learns about Albert Wesker and the fact that Ada Wong may have actually survived the Raccoon City incident.

Operation Javier

One of the first missions Leon takes on as a member of the Anti-Umbrella Pursuit and Investigation Team is codenamed Operation Javier, which first appeared in the game Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. He and another agent, Jack Krauser, are sent to South America to investigate a drug kingpin named Javier Hidalgo. Hidalgo has been in contact with a former Umbrella scientist and is suspected of purchasing biological agents from him. Leon and Jack are sent to discover the truth and save the day.


Leon soon encounters Javier Hidalgo's daughter, Manuela, and realizes she might be the key to curing some of the biological agents that have been plaguing the area. However, he is attacked by Javier, who has infected himself with the t-Veronica virus and merged with the local plant life to become a huge monster. Due to the warm, humid climate and the unique biochemistry of the "Veronica Complex" that Javier becomes, this foe threatens to infect the entire Amazon rainforest unless Leon can stop it.

Leon, Manuela, and Jack eventually destroy the creature, unaware that Albert Wesker has been observing the battle all along.

Los Illuminados - Resident Evil 4

Leon soon finds himself on a new mission: to rescue the president's daughter, who is being held captive in an isolated Spanish village. He soon encounters the Plagas parasite, which is being used by a cult called Los Illuminados to control all who are infected. The cult plans to infect the president's daughter, Ashley, before returning her to the White House, where they can use her as a spy and infect others in positions of power.


Leon eventually learns that his former partner from Operation Javier, Jack Krauser, actually works for Albert Wesker and is the one who kidnapped Ashley. He also encounters Ada Wong, whom he believed had died during the events of Resident Evil 2. Leon kills Krauser and the leader of Los Illuminados, Saddler, with Ada's help. However, she then steals a sample of Las Plagas before escaping; of course, Ada is also working with Wesker. Leon and Ashley ride a jet ski away from the island as it explodes, and Leon is heralded as a hero.

Harvardville Airport

Now is where we start to get into some lesser-known territory. Once Leon returns from Europe and his battle with Los Illuminados, he is sent to Harvardville, a small city in the United States, to deal with a bioterrorist attack on the airport there. These events occur as the plot of the animated film Resident Evil: Degeneration.


At the airport, Leon encounters Claire Redfield, who now works with the human rights organization TerraSave. As events unfold, it is eventually revealed that the owner of another evil pharmaceutical company (is there any other kind?), WilPharma, is causing the attacks so that they can make a huge profit selling vaccines for the T-Virus and G-Virus. Leon thwarts Frederic Downing, the head of WilPharma and a former Umbrella researcher, and eventually he is arrested for his crimes. Downing had been using his position to gain contacts who may be interested in buying the T-Virus to use as a bioweapon.

Eastern Slav Republic

Leon returns in the direct sequel to Degeneration, Resident Evil: Damnation. This animated film sees Leon journey back to Europe: he must venture to the Eastern Slav Republic to investigate claims that bioweapons are being used in the country's civil war. Damnation also serves as a prequel to Resident Evil 6; it even shows gameplay clips of RE6 during its end credits.


Leon discovers that there are a massive amount of bioweapons being used in the Eastern Slav Republic, and he suspects Ada Wong is responsible, due to her betrayal in Resident Evil 4. He soon discovers that the president of the Eastern Slav Republic, Svetlana Belikova, is using Tyrants and Los Plagas to maintain her control over the war-torn country.

Just as Leon thinks he is done for — he's about to engage in a knife fight with Tyrants, because apparently bullets are in short supply in the movies, too — a joint force of troops from the United States and Russia intervene in the civil war. Leon is rescued and Svetlana is forced to step down.

Tall Oaks - Resident Evil 6

Leon features as one of the protagonists of Resident Evil 6, and he faces a pretty stiff mental test. Leon is forced to shoot the president of the United States, who has been infected with the C-Virus, carried by a creature called a Lepotica. This is especially heartbreaking for Leon, as the president, Adam Benford, is also the man who had originally recruited Leon to join the Anti-Umbrella Task Force in the first place.


Leon and another agent, Helena, make their way to Tall Oaks Cathedral, where they encounter a terrifying experiment in the catacombs. They discover that the attack was orchestrated by Derek Simmons, who had been President Benford's National Security Advisor. He was also a member of a secret society called The Family. After Leon and Helena escape from the church, Simmons orders the destruction of Tall Oaks and frames Leon as the mastermind who started the attack and assassinated the president.

Simmons flees to China, while Leon and Helena must regroup and come up with a plan. After all, they are now wanted criminals.

Lanshiang, China - Resident Evil 6

As Leon and Helena are now wanted for the president's assassination, the two fake their deaths so they can follow Simmons to China, end his threat to the world, and clear their names. When they arrive in Lanshiang, they discover that Simmons has started another bioweapon outbreak (of course). Leon also encounters Sherry Birkin, the girl he and Claire rescued during the events of Resident Evil 2. She is now an adult and a federal agent herself.


Leon works together with his companions to track down Simmons, who infects himself with the C-Virus to battle the federal agents. Leon, Helena, and the rest battle Simmons through many mutations, and Leon eventually finishes him off with a well placed shot from a rocket launcher. Ada Wong had once again reappears and crosses Leon's path, but she is nowhere to be found when Leon boards her helicopter after the battle with Simmons. He flies away from Lanshiang as his portion of Resident Evil 6 comes to a close.

Washington, D.C.

Leon takes a while to recover from the events of Tall Oaks and Lanshiang, but in the animated film Resident Evil: Vendetta, he eventually returns to duty. However, his next mission in Washington, D.C. is a traumatizing event that almost pushes Leon over the brink.


Leon's team is hunting down a group of bioweapons when the mission goes horribly wrong. His entire team is infected and killed, and Leon himself has to travel to the morgue and execute each of his former squadmates as they turn into mindless killing machines. He is barely able to cope and takes a leave of absence to figure out his situation.

Instead, he spends his time drinking and trying to forget his pain. This is where Chris Redfield finds him. Chris recruits Leon to investigate a new series of bioweapon attacks. Leon reluctantly agrees, but he's starting to get jaded. Leon continues to question the point of fighting what he feels like is a futile war against bioterrorists.

New York

Leon and Chris head to New York City, where Glenn Arias is planning a massive bioweapon attack that will trigger a massive airborne virus. Arias had been accumulating bioweapon technology from the various corporations that Leon had been taking down, eventually amassing a noteworthy collection that he hoped to use to seize global power.


Leon and Chris battle through Arias' creations, eventually coming face-to-face with the mastermind himself. Arias, of course, infects himself and manages to get the upper hand in a one on one fight with Chris. Leon comes to the rescue, crashing his motorcycle into the mutated Arias, where it explodes and nearly kills the monster. Chris finishes Arias off with a grenade launcher.

After the battle, Leon continues to question his commitment to battling bioterrorism, as he sees it as a battle he can never truly win. Chris encourages him to never plan that far ahead, and just to continue fighting whatever is directly in front of him.