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"Attention! This is Dr. Marcus. Please be silent as we reflect upon our company motto. Obedience breeds discipline. Discipline breeds unity. Unity breeds power. Power is life."

Dr. James Marcus (ジェーマス・マーカス Jēmasu Mākasu?) was a virologist who led viral weapons research in the 20th century, serving as one of the co-founders of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals and holding the Director position at the company's executive training school. He played a significant role in the development of the t-Virus; however, his obsession with his research led him to neglect his other responsibilities, including engaging in illegal experimentation on children. Consequently, he was relieved of all his duties within the company and viewed as a threat, ultimately resulting in his murder in 1988. Marcus and his test subjects were subsequently disposed of in an underground river channel.


Early life[]

Young Marcus Graduation photo

A young Marcus (last on the right) in his graduation.

Very little is known about Marcus' early life, except that he graduated from a university in 1939[3] and became close friends with British noblemen Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, Earl Spencer, and Dr. Edward Ashford, 5th Earl Ashford.[4] As adults, they formed part of a eugenics circle that included Lord Beardsley and Lord Henry, who believed in using scientific methods to create Nietzsche's Übermensch.

Discovery of the Progenitor Virus[]

During the 1960s, Marcus worked in the laboratory of a Swiss university, focusing on the study of paleovirology.[5] In 1966, Marcus became intrigued by Henry Travis' Natural History Conspectus, a late nineteenth-century work that Spencer also found interesting.[6] The book contained an entry on the Ndipaya people of West Africa, which described a ritual involving the consumption of a flower. It was believed that surviving the ritual granted the consumer superhuman abilities.[6] Marcus theorized that a mutagenic virus might be involved if the account was accurate. In the latter part of the year, Marcus left the university and embarked on a quest to find the flower, accompanied by his protege Brandon Bailey.[7]

After approximately three months, Marcus and Bailey located the entrance to the secret Ndipaya Kingdom and the Garden of the Sun, where the Sonnentreppe flower grew. Despite facing numerous attacks by Ndipaya warriors, they succeeded in isolating a retrovirus from the flowers in December 1966.[7] When they returned to the university in February with Progenitor cultures, it was observed that the virus was altering the DNA of the tissue media.[7] The seeds they brought with them successfully bloomed into viable Sonnentreppe flowers. However, it was discovered that the flowers did not produce more of the virus, indicating the requirement of specific environmental conditions for active production.[7] During this time, Marcus indirectly became associated with a scandal involving falsified results, which led to his ostracization by the university research team. His state funding was cut, and the university was reluctant to provide further support.[5]

In 1967, Marcus left the university and accepted an offer from Spencer to conduct his research at the Spencer Estate under the Spencer Foundation. The condition was that he carried out all research within their circle and disclose findings only to Bailey, unless otherwise agreed upon.[5] Marcus initiated his studies on bacteria, perforating an E. coli cell by exposing it to 0.1ppm of chlorine. When exposed to Progenitor, the cell revived, mutated, and reproduced. This accomplishment, utilizing a virus to repair cellular protein, defied expectations and surpassed the findings of the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment.[5] Following this discovery, Spencer established Umbrella Pharmaceuticals in March 1967 as an additional means of funding the project. While Marcus had little interest in business matters, he accepted his role in the company.[7][8]

Facing a shortage of Progenitor cultures, Marcus and Bailey planned to return to the Ndipaya Kingdom in the spring of 1968 to extract more from the Sonnentreppe flowers. However, at Spencer's suggestion, they decided to remain behind and hired a team of mercenaries to drive out the Ndipaya warriors instead. After four months, they successfully captured and defended the Garden of the Sun. However, upon Spencer's insistence, Marcus left for the United States to oversee the newly established Umbrella Executive Training School, which housed a purpose-built laboratory for his research.[9] Although Marcus initially had no interest in returning to a university-like environment and simply wanted to focus on Progenitor research, he soon realized it was the most practical option, as suitable facilities were lacking in the ruins.[9]

t-Virus Project[]

Management training facility

The Umbrella Executive Training School, where Marcus conducted his research on the t-Virus

Starting in September 1968, Umbrella's three founders began working with a consistent supply of Progenitor from Bailey's lab in the Garden of the Sun.[9] With the aim of creating the Übermensch, data gathered over the previous two years revealed that naturally occurring Progenitor had an almost 100% fatality rate in humans. As a result, it was decided that Umbrella would acquire the necessary data while developing mutant strains to be marketed as military weapons. Spencer handled the company's operations, while the Arklay Laboratory spearheaded the "t-Virus Project". Ashford and his son, Alexander, pursued a separate project at their European residence until Ashford's "accidental" demise, orchestrated by Spencer. Meanwhile, Marcus continued his research at the training school, delegating the education of students to his assistant director.[10]

Over the next decade, Marcus conducted research using a reliable supply of animal test subjects, which the facility was capable of storing for long-term study. The students, exceptionally gifted children recruited by the Spencer Foundation, contributed to the research. However, Marcus typically distanced himself from them, considering their personalities unfit for the company's plans. Among the rare exceptions in the 1977-78 class were Dr. Albert Wesker and Dr. William Birkin, child prodigies recruited during their exceptional university studies. Their unwavering commitment to research earned Marcus' admiration, and he encouraged his assistant director to foster their competitiveness.[10]

Early in the academic year, Marcus achieved a breakthrough in his part of the t-Virus Project. By incorporating leech DNA into the virus in September 1977, he successfully created a Progenitor strain suitable for weapons research. He shared his findings with the company the following January.[8][11] In the subsequent months, he transitioned to animal experimentation, involving a range of subjects from amphibians to reptiles to mammals.[12] While he maintained his fascination with studying the virus' effects on leeches, there was an increasing interest in advancing to human experimentation.[8]


Using infected leeches by t-Virus, Marcus conducted his research on human experimentation.

In his relentless pursuit of results, Marcus turned to the children as a source of research data. While it is possible that he conducted research on students in earlier year groups, their survival would have been unlikely due to earlier t-Virus infections. Students were infected by tricking them into touching his leech specimens while working in the laboratory, and the presence of bloodied sheets in the dorm rooms suggested that some were left in their beds to undergo mutation.[13] On level B1 of the training school, Marcus restrained infected students to the walls with chains, forced them to sit on iron chairs, subjected them to drowning by dunking cranes, or impaled them on an iron maiden.[14] In one laboratory, children were forced into gas chambers to study their survival abilities. Even in 1998, skeletal remains were left scattered around.[15]

Within the main laboratory complex, Marcus continued his research. In an operating room, children were subjected to vivisection, with their organs removed and preserved in culture fluids in the auxiliary research room.[16] Some children were preserved intact for study.[17] Marcus' main lab room also housed a gas chamber. Deceased students were taken to the nearby morgue for storage, but due to Marcus' lack of interest, many were improperly handled.[18][19] There were also instances of people being killed in the training facility on level B3, likely intended for training the Umbrella Security Service in anti-B.O.W. combat. Skeletal remains would be discovered within animal cages in 1998.

However, there were also cases of test subjects being removed from the facility rather than being left behind. A document found in 1998 listed the names of 15 students who were experimented on and instructed the staff to erase any records related to them. Nine were transferred to other Umbrella facilities for further research, with two sent to the nearby Arklay Laboratory. Two more were preserved as specimens. Finally, four subjects who died during the research were ordered to be disposed of.[20] They were dumped into an underground stream that flowed toward the nearby water treatment plant. It is important to note that this list is incomplete, as evidence elsewhere indicates a higher death toll during this research, disregarding the aforementioned discoveries of bodies. An assessment by the U.S.S. estimated no fewer than twenty victims.[21]

Censure and Death[]

A growing rift between Spencer and Marcus had been evident since the inception of Umbrella, with both individuals harboring paranoia toward one another. Ashford himself met his demise in a lab accident orchestrated by Spencer. At the conclusion of the 1977-78 school year, Umbrella HQ ordered the immediate closure of the training school and its laboratory, with surviving personnel reassigned to other facilities. Birkin and Wesker were swiftly transferred to the Arklay Laboratory, depriving Marcus of his trusted apprentices.[22]

RE0 not Marcus flashback scene 11

Marcus' corpse, after his murder.

Already suspicious that Spencer was attempting to steal his research data, Marcus chose to remain in his laboratory and continue his experiments. He intended to present his findings to Umbrella's executive directors, believing that this would garner him the necessary support to seize control of the company.[8] However, despite his isolation, Spencer deduced Marcus' intentions and took steps to eliminate the threat posed by Dr. Marcus. In 1988, a team from the Umbrella Security Service infiltrated the lab and gunned down Marcus. Birkin and Wesker accompanied the kill squad and swiftly collected any relevant research data for their own projects at the Arklay Laboratory. The body of James Marcus, along with undesired specimens like the Queen Leech, were then disposed of in the river channel.[23] By 1998, Umbrella had nearly erased Marcus from its official company history, except for remaining materials indicating his early dismissal.[24]


Although he was deceased, Marcus had set in motion a chain of events that would lead to the destruction of Raccoon City, the downfall of Umbrella, and Spencer's transformation into one of the world's most wanted fugitives. He ultimately achieved revenge on Spencer and the company. Unbeknownst to the operatives involved, the Queen Leech dumped alongside Marcus entered his body and merged its DNA with his genome, assimilating his memories by absorbing his brain cells. This hybrid creature would later embark on a rampage in 1998 to avenge Marcus' death.[23]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Sumner, Shotten, Owen (eds). Archives. p.130
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hamamura (ed.), KAITAISHINSHO, p.011
  3. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Old Photograph".
  4. Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (2010), file: "Patrick's Memoirs 1".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Makino, UMBRELLA CHRONICLES SIDE A, Chapter 1.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Tricell".
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 1".
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Marcus' Diary 1".
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 2".
  10. 10.0 10.1 Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Assistant Director's Diary".
  11. Resident Evil 5 (2009), file: "Telegram from James Marcus"
  12. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "B.O.W. Report".
  13. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Management Trainee's Diary".
  14. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Torture chamber".
  15. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Gas laboratory", examine
  16. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Auxiliary research room", examine: "Some kind of internal organ appears to be inside."
  17. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Auxiliary research room", examine: "These capsules contain human specimens. Each has a look of great suffering on its face."
  18. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Morgue", examine: "The foot of a decayed corpse is sticking out. The rest of the body has decayed beyond recognition."
  19. Resident Evil 0 (2002), room: "Morgue", examine: "It's a corpse in a body bag. You get the feeling it was just stuffed in there."
  20. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Correctional Institute Inmates List".
  21. Resident Evil 0 (2002), file: "Investigator's Report".
  22. Wesker's Report Ⅱ.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Resident Evil 0 (2002), scene: "Revealed".
  24. Resident Evil 2 (2000), Ex-file: "Mother Virus Report".