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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Resident Evil 4
Las Plagas are Eldritch Abominations.
Of all the various viruses and Applied Phlebotinum in the series, it's generally Las Plagas or their derivatives that actually cause the most insanely rapid mutations, often seemingly creating new mass from nothing. Las Plagas also were "sealed away" beneath the Salazar castle for centuries or more, and have a cult devoted to their worship. Anyone else smell Lovecraftian abomination?
  • This troper has been saying that the Plagas are aliens for a while now.
  • This troper goes even further and says that the Progenitor Virus and all its derivatives are mircoscopic Eldritch Abominations. Hell, Marcus turns into a The Worm That Walks after his death to show up in Resident Evil 0. This troper would also go to suggest that Albert Wesker is now an avatar for Nyarlthotep, but cannot decide if this detracts from his favorite villain or adds to him.
  • Yeah, well, they look like pretty shitty abominations if you ask me.

Ada was Ingrid Hunnigan
  • You lose contact with Hunnigan shortly before meeting Ada for the first time. Ada's initially wearing sunglasses, but destroys them as a handy distraction. The next time you see Hunnigan, after the credits, she's not wearing her glasses.
    • Yes, Ada is in D.C. then teleports to Notspain. She also changes her entire genetic code.
    • Jossed apparently.

Umbrella never toppled.
By RE4, Umbrella has since ceased to exist, who's only remembered for setting of one of the worst tragedies and genocides in human history. If this is so, then why are First-aid sprays so readily available? Someone is obviously making more, because even medicine deteriorates over time. It can't be that The Merchant simply obtained a surplus, because they would have been useless by the time Leon, his best customer, came to the area. Umbrella either still exists as an underground company, or is owned by some mother company. Either way, Umbrella could technically go about its research, so long as no one ever found out about them AGAIN.
  • Uh... This troper can go to any drug store and get First Aid Spray. It's not some miracle drug made by Umbrella. It doesn't actually heal wounds, of course, but neither do herbs or medkits.
  • The end of RE: Umbrella Chronicles pretty much states that Umbrella is now more of a terrorist organization under the control of Wesker.
    • Confirmed in RE5. While not using the Umbrella name so much (this troper is unsure if Tricell is Wesker's company or an unrelated, but interested, party), they use its resources and former research to sell BO Ws on the black market.
    • ...There are pharmaceutical companies other than Umbrella...

The merchant in RE4 is a Ganado of the Chaotic Good type
There's some evidence to this idea. His skin seems to have the same complexion as a Ganado villager, at night his eyes glow like a Plaga-carrying Ganado, and he seems to have a thing for violence (He can't be carrying all them guns just to look pretty), what with him selling guns to Leon. But rather than trying to use all of this weaponry to blast a hole in Leon, if not supply the Ganados with enough weaponry to put the UBCS to shame, he seems to sell them to Leon for varying prices. Not only that, but he gladly accepts any treasure from Leon for cash. It could be some sort of glitch in the Ganado possession programming which rendered the merchant(s?) not exactly evil, since he doesn't try to kill Leon, but not exactly good either, since he chuckles evilly when Leon buys off of him. The Ganados seem to pay him no mind, since he's still alive wherever Leon goes.
  • He could also be British and not Spanish. I mean, come on, how many Spaniards speak like Cockneys?
  • He could also be a member of a family of identical siblings. Either that, or he gets around.
    • You can kill the merchant. He reappears at the next area without commentary.
      • Then there is a lab dedicatied to cloning him. Or he's a time lord. Take your pick.
      • In Normal Mode only. Kill him in Professional, he stays dead and you stay fucked for the rest of the game due to not being able to get better gear.
  • He's just that greedy. When given a choice between hero profiteering and hero chomping, he picked profiteering.
    • In that case...
  • In Marvel Zombies, Doctor Doom takes longer to be properly zombified on account of his large ego and pride. Maybe the Merchant(s?) REALLY liked making money prior infection...?
  • Maybe they are under Saddler's control! Or were, anyway. The Merchants get infected with Las Plagas, get sent to America where people love guns and begin selling them for pesos. Violence skyrockets, and Osmund makes a good chunk of change from the proceeds, brings his "religion" to America and the masses terrified of the bandits using insanely affordable guns seek shelter in his cult. America, mind controlled, proceeds to take over the rest of the world! But then he abandoned it and went with the less convoluted plan of kidnapping the President's Daughter and having her re-rescued once she was infected to infect the highest rungs of the American government. He forgot the Merchants were still around and they just keep fulfilling their primary mission with Leon, rather than the American Public.
    • However, he can sells you a type of gun that can insta-kill Plagas, and only Plagas. He seems to be immune to it.
    • But that gun doesn't work on Ashley either even when she is infected. It also destroys everything breakable in the area. Unless boxes are tainted with the spores but that still doesn't explain why it doesn't work on Ashley.

The Merchant is the real Big Bad of the entire series
...and he makes his profit by selling any random stranger ridiculous guns at a high price, using any other guns left over to blow the sucker away while they're not looking, loot the guns back and sell them to the next traveler, keeping both guns and money. Rinse and repeat. Leon is just too smart for that, which is exactly why the Merchant chuckles evilly when Leon buys things off of him; he considers Leon a Worthy Opponent of some sort. But his Master Plan to take over the world involves taking this de facto currency and bringing it into circulation, and in some massive Artistic License - Economics moment, throws the entire world (or at least Spain)'s economy into chaos.
  • LEON'S too smart compared to his previous victims? Mr. Leon 'Your right hand comes off?' Kennedy? What the hell kind of travelers was he managing to trick?
    • The Too Dumb to Live kind, obviously.
    • Seriously, guys? Leon's reply was obviously a joke.
    • Considering all the wierd shit he has had to fill full of lead, "Your right hand comes off" is a PERFECTLY legit question.

The Merchant had a Control Type Las Plagas in him.
This explains why enemies do not find him, cause he just uses the control Plagas to Jedi Mind Trick them into seeing nothing. Were he to give orders to the Ganados, then the other controllers such as Saddler and Salazar would notice that their minions were going off track. However, since Leon Kennedy killed all the controllers in Spain, The Merchant is free to use the remaining Ganados as he sees fit.

Leon became aware that Ada was Not Quite Dead before the events of RE4
Think about it. When they meet in Salazar's castle for the first time, Leon says "So it is true. You are working for Wesker" rather than expressing surprise at seeing her alive despite seeing her die. Noting that one works for Wesker isn't a natural response to meeting for the first time someone you believed (and saw) died. There are many theories to this. For example, the Leon A scenario could be canon and a bit of Leon hoped and thought that Ada could still be alive. Or the both of them could have communicated offscreen, with Ada sending Leon a message that she was alive and in Wesker's payroll. Perhaps the denial overrode acceptance and won out in the end, since in RE2's Leon B scenario, what appears to be Ada throws a Rocket Launcher to Leon to help destroy the Mr X-type Tyrant. Or in fact, canonically, Ada NEVER did die in the first place, but Leon and Ada split up during the laboratory segment and they didn't meet again til RE4.
  • Well, he apparently learned lots of interesting stuff when he became a secret agent, such as Wesker's importance after Umbrella's fall.
  • Perhaps given the plotline of Resident Evil and Wesker's role in particular, it could be a justified default assumption that anyone who "died" and then suddenly returned without warning is probably working for Wesker, Umbrella, or is taking notes from their "examples".

Mike from RE4 was a Transformer.
Come on, it's so obvious! We never see him leave the chopper. When you actually get a good look at the chopper, there's no one inside. It also explains why Leon is so upset. You see, Leon was excited because he was going to get some help from an alien super-robot, but Saddler killed Mike before he was actually helpful! Leon didn't really care about saving Ashley after that, he was just trying to get revenge on Saddler for destroying his robot friend. In addition, Mike was supposed to give Leon the name of a good bar, but he was destroyed before he could. No one comes between Leon and his alcohol.

Jack Krauser didn't use Las Plagas
He was just so incredibly manly he decided to mutate.
  • "I think I'll grow a crazy mutant arm today. Oh, and while I'm at it, I think I'll rip my shirt off and see Leon's reaction!"
  • The Darkside Chronicles seem to suggest that Krauser was given something by Wesker after his arm was damaged. Afterall, why would Saddler give Jack a Plagas?
    • Because Saddler didn't trust him, yet preferred for such a physically capable individual to be under the complete control of his own master Plagas.
  • Then why does the Plagas Remover Laser work on him?
    • It's a special Infinity Plus One weapon that presumably doesn't fit into the canon plot. It works on Krauser because he's an enemy and it works on every enemy in the game. Not the most entertaining explanation by a long shot, granted, but it has the highest probability of being correct.

The Merchant stole a shipment of weapons intended for Saddler.
Given the size and advanced technology of Saddler's facility, it's a bit suspicious that he has to rely on medieval weapons with the exception of a small number of chainsaws, miniguns, rocket launchers, and cattle prods. Ganados are clearly intelligent enough to operate modern firearms, and there's no way that what he was up to wouldn't come to the attention of the government. When the Spanish army comes to investigate, he wants some weapons.

The Merchant, on the other hand, has a massive stockpile of big guns and the devices to upgrade them. It's likely that Saddler obtained the weapons from some sort of black-market dealer, but the Merchant stole it during the delivery, intending to sell it either to Saddler or a terrorist organization such as ETA or the IRA at a profit. However, the deal went sour; luckily for the Merchant, there just happened to be an American government agent with a lot of treasure in the area.

The Merchant is Ganados v 1.0
When Las Plagas was first being experimented with, the first version made its victims invincible and free-willed. But clearly, the fact they were infected with a virus that did no favors for their complexion didn't go over too well with many of the victims, and they attacked. That's why there's a machine that removes Las Plagas, so the suckers could be killed. The Merchant was a camper from England who escaped after Saddler killed his beloved wife, Leslie, so he decided to assist anyone who came through by selling them stolen guns. He also used to work for Saddler, and thus knows many shortcuts to beat you to wherever it is you're going. He's invincible, so you can't kill him, and he planted the typewriters, and stole your dashed-off apocalypse log, later publishing them as a successful novel.

The Merchant is "That Dog."
The merchant is a shapeshifting entity, roaming the forests of Notspain, and assisting those in need. For fighting against the Plagas, he was eventually caught and imprisoned by a bear trap, in wolf form, at the beginning of the game. Along comes a friendly American, who proceeds to free him. As repayment, the Merchant conjures up a bunch of weaponry and assists said agent in his mission against the Plagas. He also assists Ada, for her helping Leon. *He was the chicken in Ada's introductory scene.*

Leon's strength as shown in RE4 comes from the Plaga in his bloodstream, until it is removed.

He spends the whole time, from very early on in the game, infected with a Plaga parasite. It explains how, after waking up from being passed out and tied up to Luis, he can kick the guy with the ax with enough strength to fly into the wall, breaking the ganado's neck in the process. It also explains how he can injure a ganado so severely with a kick, while a handgun does less damage.
  • He doesn't kick the Ganado backward into the wall. The Ganado comes at him, Leon plants one foot in the Ganado's stomach, and vaults the Ganado over his head and into the wall. It's a modified tomo nage, not superstrength.
  • That would explain why he's so pissy the next time he shows up in Degeneration. He's upset that he can't suplex people hard enough to make their heads explode anymore.
  • Two problems with that theory:
    • First, he was just as strong before the parasite was injected, and suffered no loss of strength when it was removed.
    • Second, Leon's physical abilities were even more impressive in Degeneration. His Parkour run across the collapsing lab was more difficult than anything he pulled off in Resevil 4.

The Island in Resident Evil 4 is one of the smaller of the Canary Islands.
The Canary Islands may be part of Spain, but they're also off the coast of Africa. If you pay attention to the enemies, particularly J.J., you'll notice that there's a mix of Spanish and African appearances.
  • J.J. reappears again (in duplicate) in RE5, in a ship that just departed from West Africa.

Leon and Ada have been in a relationship between Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4.
When you play as Leon, Ada will occasionally leave letters and notes around for Leon. She seems to have kissed them. Let's Play has a walkthrough that points out that those two only knew each other for a day six years ago... Unless it was during the time-skip. It also would explain how Leon isn't going, "OMG!!!1!1! I THOUGHT YOU DIED!" instead saying how he knew she was working for Wesker.

Leon is the victim of The Dulcinea Effect.
That would explain such romantic undertones between Leon and Ada when they honestly (canon-wise; or at least Let's Play-wise) only have seen each other a couple of times in several years.

The Merchant's torch is a Ganado repellent.
He never gets attacked by the things, even though he's just around the corner most of the time. What other reason can there be besides the aforementioned "he's one of them" theory? If you shoot him once, he dies like a human would (with the exception of every important character in RE). That pretty much trashes that theory... However, every time you meet him, he has the blue fire in his torch and you don't see him getting attacked by Ganados (on screen). Sure, he gets displaced in the Castle one time, but he never gets injured by the cultists. Rather, he simply moves upstairs behind a barred door while keeping the fire close to make them squirm. In conclusion, the Merchant has found a plant or chemical that, when burned, makes a smoke that repels the Ganado in the general area.
  • Could be Jossed by Separate Ways, which shows the Merchant doesn't light the torch when he's off duty, yet still hangs around Ganados heavy areas without getting attacked.

Ada in RE4 is a clone
Well, think about it. Did you guys see Ada's ending in the earlier games? She seemed very adamant that she was not going to use the name Ada Wong anymore. And yet, she was still Ada Wong when RE4 rolled around. I'm thinking the Ada in RE2, while she did as she needed to, could have been killed by Wesker because she allowed people (Leon, Ada, and Sherry) to escape, leaving witnesses who could tell the government what Umbrella was doing. But at the time, he didn't have anyone better, but he didn't have the resources to make the serum that he had in RE5, so he used Ada's DNA to try and create an obedient, willing version of Ada, which is the Ada in RE4. But that Ada was still too much like the original Ada, and as soon as she was off the island and safe from the explosion, she tried to run away with the Plagas sample to stop Wesker from hurting, if anyone, Leon. However, he caught her and killed her quickly, taking the Plagas sample with him, explaining the presence of the Plagas in RE5 and the lack of Ada in the same game.
  • Pretty much debunked in Umbrella Chronicles.
    • But then why isn't she in RE5?
      • She gives Wesker a fake sample at the end of Separate Ways. She probably wouldn't want to be around Wesker after he found out.
  • Isn't Leon the only person who calls her Ada? Krauser refers to her as "The b*** in the red dress", not by name. So she may well be using a different name, while Leon still calls her Ada because that's the only name he knows.

During RE 4, the president of the United States is Billy Graham.
  • That, or Ashley is just a Captain Ersatz for George Bush's daughter. ("Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental," eh?).

The true location of RE 4.
  • Okay, I for one still believe it's Spain, but here's a little extension. It is either actually in the country of Spain, or on the outskirts. The village functions like an Amish community. They don't believe in using modern technology and still farm for all their needs, like food and such. The reason they use Pesetas for money, since it is no longer the Spanish Currency, is, since they don't want to maintain trade with the outside world, because it's not worth anything to anyone other than them, and after Spain got rid of it, they just decide to use it instead of creating their own currency. This is why the Merchant uses it. He was somehow accepted into their community, maybe as a secretary of the treasury type. With it being the only currency worth something to the community, it's his only option. Also, the villagers refuse to be considered part of Spain or be called Spaniards. All pre-Saddler, of course.

The merchant in RE 4 is Renon.
He's that demon from the early Castlevania games or at least a cheap knock off of him. He's a money demon that sells much needed supplies to hereos in conquest. Similar to Renon in Castlevania he seems to be of foriegn english descent,I don't know what Renon's voice sounds like but if they sound the same or at least similar that merchant is Renon. He has the ability to transport himself to any location just like Renon and he chooses places with no monsters in them just like Renon. Renon being a demon despite being a salesmen, might very like have demon eyes evidenced by him always wearing shades just like Wesker, so we never get to see what his eyes look like in there human form, but the merchants sinisterly glowing beading eyes might be what they look like. He's not wearing shades so you know this time he doesn't have normal human eyes.

The Merchant is The Atoner.
Like Luis, he was once a scientist who helped Saddler in his experiments with the Plaga. Upon seeing his experiments in action, he was horrified, and decided to take matters into his own hands: by amassing a small army's worth of guns and equipment. Though he was infected with the parasite in time, he managed to suppress it, nullifying its personality-changing effects (and, incidentally, Saddler's control over him).

Who knows, he's probably engaging in a one-man guerilla war against Saddler when you're not buying things from him. If it wasn't for his efforts you'd be drowning in Ganados.

The White House is infested with zombies
The White House was attacked by zombies prior to Ashley's capture (clearly not Ganados, because Saddler was planning to do something like that on his own), and Ashley thinks they still might be there, which was why she was willing to pay Leon extra to exterminate them. After all, Leon's job at that point is basically running around shooting b.o.w.'s while guarding Ashley; what else would "overtime" mean?
  • *Ahem*

The Merchant is Leon from the future
This probably explains how he knows where Leon is going to end up. He places his torches up at the RIGHT spot where and when Leon is about to show up. When he passes by Ada, he doesn't have his torches set up properly so he can't upgrade any weapons. ((The torches might be the reason how the Merchant can upgrade weapons. NEW ones that is for Leon's case.)) Keep in mind, both Leon and the Merchant have the SAME VOICE ACTOR. He hides his face so that way his past self wouldn't recognize him...uh...self. When Leon kills the Merchant, he doesn't DIE. Because if he did then why does he keep popping up? It's the SAME Merchant. ((Or Leon doesn't really kill him in the main canon.)) How he can survive getting mine throwered in the face might be possible because...uh...I got nothing. His reasons for being there is to aid his past self because in the end, Leon LOSES control because the plaga took over his body. ((Why the Merchant had red eyes. He is infected with a plaga but was able to break free from its control)) In the future, Leon breaks free and wakes up in a world ruled by Saddler. He goes back in time with weapons of mass destruction with a lone, BUT in order to supply his past self with stronger weapons he needs more money. That is why he charges his past self.

The Merchant's torches allow him to suppress Las Plaga
Okay, we all know he is infected someway or somehow but for some reason, the Merchant isn't like any of the other Ganados. So perhaps he burns some special herb or stone that releases a light that appears blue to our eyes but to the Merchant it lets him suppress the parasite or somehow stops it from reaching adulthood. Or maybe the herb/stone's smoke allows him to suppress it. Thus, the Merchant keeps his willpower but also has the glowing eyes. Additionally, Luis' pills are made from the same stone/herb and doesn't need to be burned to be effective. As for why the torches aren't lit in Ada's campaign, the Merchant has a limited amount of the herb/stone he can burn so he only burns it when he needs to. Just like how Leon waits until he strangles Ada before popping the pills. Ada somehow always catches him just before or after he uses the torches and Leon always catches him while he can feel the plaga growing.
  • Maybe he also has some of those herbs packed inside of that scarf he wears for a mask (ala plague doctor). It would make sense because he would always breathe in the fumes of those herbs to suppress the growth of the parasite and it would also explain why he doesn't need the torches all the time. The torches amplify the suppressing effect, but it could be kind of dangerous to stand next to a BRIGHT BLUE FLAME IN ENEMY TERRITORY ALL THE FRIGGIN' TIME! Then again, he shows up at all kinds of places where he is in full view and is carrying a whole arsenal of weapons with him that he can easily use, so I think that Merch doesn't really give a shit.

The Merchant is a Time Lord
Yes, a cliched WMG, but bear with me. The Merchant is a Time Lord who got infected by Las Plagas, but due to his alien origin, he is affected more slowly/differently than a normal human. The Shooting Galleries are his TARDIS that Leon inadvertedly walks in, and that would explain why he can appear anywhere carrying a enormous cache of weapons. He can get killed by Leon, but regenerates offscreen (and he is always covering his face, so you don't notice) Why he is not attacked by the Ganados? They cannot see him thanks to a perception filter.

Saddler is over 500 years old
Just think about it: There is no mention of a predecessor and the cult was founded some time before the Spanish Inquisition. During said Inquisition, Los Illuminados was nearly wiped out. Nearly. How does a small cult survive throughout the centuries without their brainwash-bugs at their disposal? Their leader survived. He somehow managed to keep himself unnoticed and even managed to amass a fortune. Those tons of weapons, soldiers, battleships, researchers, technology and that private island don't pay for themselves. Also, look at his Plaga-form. Saddler's form looks far more different from the rest of the Dominant Strain-carriers. Mendez, while friggin' huge, stays relatively small compared to Saddler. Salazar just cheated and merged with the Queen Plaga and his remaining Verdugo. But Saddler's huge Combat Tentacles come right the fuck out of nowhere, just look at the scene where he kills Luis with his giant killer tentacle wang. He also seems way more in control of his transformations (as evident in his fight with Ada). The anwser? Over the centuries he has practically become one with the parasite and the parasite has prolonged his lifespan. Plaga are resilient mofo's. They even survided being fossilized (well, more or less through spores).

  • For discussion sake, let's consider this theory. It's possible that the Plaga concede this long life alright, but if Saddler is so old, why didn't he plan better his World Conqueror plans? Had he been around this long, he would recognise the history patterns well enough to not wait so much, and planted plagas in the european world leaders sooner? And not to mention that some files from other games mention his name as one of the researchers of the Progenitor virus along with Edward Ashford, Spencer and James Marcus.

    • Maybe because the technology wasn't around yet to fully realize his plans. You can only prepare so many eggs in a short period of time without the right equipment. The failed plan itself despite Saddler being around for so long? Hubris and insanity. The parasite doesn't really do any wonders to your mental health, as the game proved that. I think that even the people with the dominant strain weren't fully resistant to being totally off the rocker (*cough* Salazar *cough*). You can kind of compare the parasites to the Lazarus Pits from the Batman mythos and the effect they have on the user, most notably Ra's al Ghul. He's immortal, but also insane because it's a side-effect of prolonged exposure to the pits. Also, what files? Saddler had no ties with Umbrella. You must have confused him with some other dude.

Leon was right. This IS an alien invasion!
In the castle, you can find notes Luis made whilst studying Las Plagas, comparing it to other parasites. One thing most of them have in common is that they influence their hosts' behaviour, usually with the objective of being eaten by some other creature. This is why Los Illuminados wanted to take over the United States- so that they could lure the target(s?) to Earth and pass the parasite to them.

TL;DR: Las Plagas are Tyranids.

Saddler was tight with Dr Tongue.

How in HELL else can Saddler have Dr. Salvador/The Bella Sisters be so resistant to gunfire? Dr. Tongue's Chainsaw-Wielding Mooks can take rocket launcher rounds like it's nothing, but he never figured out how to make a chainsaw a One-Hit Kill to Zeke/Julie.

Saddler overheard that problem he was having and tried to make his Hockey Mask and Chainsaw Mooks a One-Hit Kill. The problem was that the process Saddler used made them more Glass Cannon than Dr Tongue's Stone Wall types.

Assignment Ada takes place in an Alternate Universe.
In the plot of the game, there was only one Plagas Sample, that Ada took and gave to Wesker. But during Assignment Ada, there are five. And also in the actual plot, Ada blew up the island after securing that sample. So it isn't like she could just waltz in and find five more for Wesker.
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