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Forum Home > BIRKIN'S LABORATORY > Leon's inconsistent hair color

Officer Lovett
Posts: 6

Have you ever wondered why Leon's hair colour seems to fluctuate between blonde and brunette? If you're as much of a fanboy as I am, or more specifically, actually give a damn about Hideki Kamiya and Isao Oishii's original Leon S. Kennedy that people seemed to forget about after the release of Resident Evil 4, then I might have an explanation for you.

I believe it all started with this render, here. You'll probably recognise it if you've ever owned a physical copy of Resident Evil 2 and thumbed through the instruction manual, but it has appeared in many other official publications as well. You might have noticed his hair is significantly more yellow than... pretty much anywhere else; Isao Oishii's concept art, the in-game model and portrait, and even the FMVs, which... made his hair unusually orange, but that's another mystery altogether.

The team obviously realised this inconsistency, because they would go on to update the render for the Dualshock release of Biohazard 2, making his hair darker with some additional detail to match the original concept art. Despite this, the outdated render is still used in various re-releases of the game, such as the Dreamcast version, probably because Kamiya (and possibly other staff members) weren't involved with any of the ports.

Despite this, the officially-licensed Chinese comic, Biohazard 3: Last Escape, depicts Leon with blonde hair, as well as many other materials ranging from magazine covers to fanart. It's amazing that such a simple oversight could cause such a huge misinterpretation of a character, as minor as it is.

The other day I decided to ask Kamiya himself to get to the bottom of this, and his response confirmed that the yellow-haired render was in fact outdated, and that yes, Leon is a brunette.

So, there you have it. Leon's inconsistent hair colour all stems from a render that was considered inaccurate enough to be updated. Why was this mistake made in the first place, when all other official materials depicted Leon with brown hair? I have no idea, perhaps the modeller thought he'd look better with a golden shade. Perhaps you agree with him, perhaps not; all I care about is Kamiya and Oiishi's original vision, which sadly seems to have been overwritten over the years by the comparably fair-haired Leon that we got in Resident Evil 4, 6, Darkside Chronicles, and even the upcoming RE2 remake. I suspect that many fans care less about the remake being faithful to the original depiction, and more the badass government agent they fell in love with in RE4, which is understandable enough, but I can't help but feel a little sad that the Leon I fell in love with has been forgotten by all but the classic fans.

That is one sweet jacket, though.

July 2, 2018 at 1:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 18

For me the official color is the original one.


July 18, 2018 at 6:24 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 390

I always like him being brunette and I think it all depended on how the hair was colored with lighting and shading. I know a lot of characters with black hair always were given a blue color to them so maybe the mistake him being blonde is because of the coloring to show his hair is dark. 


'The screams, the shouts, the pain, the nightmares...they'll never leave me, that asylum will never leave me...I suffer from it every passing night...what does Umbrella want of me?' - Shane Burns

July 25, 2020 at 1:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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