When it comes to a franchise that’s been around for 26 years, such as Resident Evil, it’s probably safe to say that we’ve all had our different jumping on points. Whether it be one of the incredible video games, motion pictures, novels, or even comic books published by Wildstorm and DC, one of the above started your love affair with the Umbrella Corporation’s abominations of science. For me, my moment came in 1998 via Resident Evil 2 on the original Playstation – and Claire Redfield was actually the first character I played as.
Having said that, it was definitely a full circle moment to finally meet someone who had voiced the character over her illustrious history. To be specific, I had the chance to meet and interview Stephanie Panisello this past weekend at Motor City Comic Con. For those unfamiliar, she lent her voice to Claire Redfield in 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake and the Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness series for Netflix.
Should Stephanie appear at a convention in your locale, I highly recommend visiting her table. There are few in the entertainment industry who take as much time to make their fans’ day as she. She’s genuinely kind and chatty; one could say she truly embodies the qualities of Claire in real life. On top of that, she’s likely to appear in cosplay at least one day out of the weekend.
What follows is a transcription of my interview with Stephanie, in which we touched on the highly acclaimed Resident Evil 2 remake and some other questions pertaining to the series that I’m sure many other fans would ask if given the opportunity.
DCN: Beforehand, were you already familiar with Claire and the Resident Evil franchise, or was it something you dived into after getting the role?
Stephanie Panisello: Yeah, I was familiar with Resident Evil beforehand, playing Resident Evil 2. So, my neighbor had it because I wasn’t allowed to have it as a kid, so I’d go play over there. That’s where I was first introduced – and I was introduced to Claire at that time.
DCN: Oddly enough, she was the first character I played as. It was 1998, and my cousin brought over a stack of Playstation games – and Resident Evil 2 was one of them. Claire’s disc was the first one we popped in [Stephanie cheered]. So Claire was my intro to this world. I just fell in love with it.
It makes sense for there to be a “new” Claire in the remake. Was it a deliberate move by Capcom to bring in a new series of voice actors for this alternate universe that’s darker, grittier, and more serious?
SP: Yeah, you know, honestly I think Capcom was just excited about making a remake. And one of the things they were talking to me about, the creation of the character, they were very big on, “Honor what’s been done, but we want this to be completely fresh. We want this to feel new.”
And so that was a really big deal and it gave me a green light to be able to expand on the character in a way that was different, from my perspective. I’m so glad that it has been well received. Some of the things that were added, I try to give extra layers that maybe we didn’t touch upon, or the fact that she cusses a whole lot more – and she didn’t use to do that. There have been some changes, yeah.
DCN: A lot of fans, myself included, would like to see a CODE: Veronica remake. Though being subtitled, it is part of the mainline series of games. Would you like to voice Claire again, and if CODE: Veronica were to happen, would you like it to border on reimagining the game as RE 2 did?
SP: Yeah, honestly if CODE: Veronica were to be made, I feel like it’s one of those games that could really use a remake and use that extra love and TLC. If I were asked to be part of it, I would love to because I would like to figure that out with the team and how that would work and how to really make that come to life. So that would be awesome, but of course, we can just hope and I would be really blessed if they get to ask me again.
DCN: Would like for Claire to star in a big blockbuster gamer where she’s the lead again?
SP: Aside from CODE: Veronica?
SP: That would be awesome. I wonder where that would go in the canon. So, I don’t know where that would happen.
DCN: Resident Evil 9 or 10?
SP: Oh god. I mean, shit, I don’t even know how old she would be at that time. Yeah, why not? It would be fun to figure out where she’s gone and the stuff that’s happened. That would be cool.
DCN: RE 2 was in 1998, so she’s had her own adventures since then.
SP: And then CODE: Veronica happens technically in canon, right? And then we also have Infinite Darkness, which we saw Claire picked back up in that as well.
DCN: I think that’s 2005, 2006 in the timeline?
SP: I think it’s supposed to be after CODE: Veronica. I believe it’s after Resident Evil 4.
DCN: It’s between Resident Evil 4 and 5.
SP: Yeah, it’s after [Resident Evil] 4. Mhm.
That concludes our interview with Stephanie Panisello. Be sure to follow her on your social media platform of choice, as she’s also very involved with her fans in the virtual world.