Leon Scott Kennedy is one of two main protagonists in Resident Evil 2, and the central character featured in Resident Evil 4. In his initial appearance, Leon is a rookie officer employed by the Raccoon City Police Department amidst the T-Virus outbreak that would consume the city. In subsequent appearances, he is a well-trained, highly-skilled government agent specializing in the containment and elimination of bio-organic weapons.
Leon is showcased as a playable character in the non-canonical Game Boy Color title Resident Evil: Gaiden, and stands alongside fellow Raccoon City survivor Claire Redfield in the feature-length CG film Resident Evil: Degeneration. The story of his survival of the Raccoon City incident is recounted in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, and he is poised to be the protagonist of Capcom's sophomore CG film outing in Resident Evil: Damnation. He is voiced by Paul Haddad in Resident Evil 2, and by Paul Mercier in all of his following appearances up until Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, where he was voiced by Christian Lanz, and then Matthew Mercer who voiced him Resident Evil: Damnation and then Resident Evil 6.
On the live-action side of things, Brad Renfro portrayed Leon for a Japanese advertisement (directed by George Romero) for Resident Evil 2, and Johann Urb plays as Leon for the Resident Evil movie Resident Evil: Retribution.
Among all of Leon's accomplishments, his survival of the Raccoon City T-Virus outbreak in September of 1998 is the most significant. It would earn him a position with a specialized agency within the United States government, moving him up and through the ranks until he would be eventually tasked with the protection of President Graham and his family. From there he became closely affiliated with the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance.
Leon arrives in Raccoon City following the worst of the T-Virus outbreak, prepared for his first day on the job with the local police department's special forces unit. It doesn't take him long to figure out that something has gone pretty wrong; he is attacked by a group of infected citizens which leads him into a chance encounter with Claire Redfield. The two are separated following a car collision, but promise to meet up at the police station.
The precinct isn't as secure as Leon had hoped, and after the near-immediate passing of Marvin Branagh, Kennedy is left as the only surviving police officer in the city. However, with help from Branagh, Leon is able to rendezvous with Claire and decide on the game plan of searching out the building for survivors and escaping the city. This course of action leads him to Ada Wong, a tough-as-nails woman in search of her missing boyfriend, and Ben Bertolucci, a journalist. Leon's desire to perform well at his new profession pushes him to pursue Ada through Raccoon's massive sewer network, accessible from the dog kennel in the back of the police station. He is shot and wounded by Annette Birkin, but soldiers on and eventually stumbles into the Umbrella Corporation's underground research laboratory. It is here that Leon discovers that Ada is actually after the newly-developed G-Virus. She holds the officer at gunpoint, but ultimately chooses to spare his life just before she is shot and presumably killed herself by a fatally-wounded Annette. Before her death, Ada informs Leon of a train system constructed for the purposes of funneling Umbrella employees out of the facility in case of an emergency.
Before Leon can reach the train system, however, the self-destruct sequence is activated, and he is confronted by the mutated form of Umbrella top researcher and G-Virus creator William Birkin. He dispatches of the creature with relative ease and rushes aboard the already-moving train just before it departs entirely. Here he is reunited with Claire, and introduced to Sherry Birkin, daughter of the Umbrella researchers. Aboard the moving train, another mutation of William assaults them. The creature activates the train's own self-destruct mechanism, but the trio of survivors manage to escape, leaving William to die.
In the aftermath, Leon, Claire, and Sherry are bathed in morning sunlight. Claire declares her lingering desire to find her brother, and Leon expresses his wanting to help. The three walk aimlessly, away from the damned wreckage of the train.
After Raccoon City, Leon insists that Claire continue her search for her missing brother alone while he stays behind and looks after Sherry. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to be apprehended by the government, however, and following a quick debrief Leon is offered a position within a federal agency. He accepts under the condition that Sherry is to be taken under government protection, and begins a regimen of training and being trained. His knowledge regarding the different kinds of bio-organic weapons manufactured by Umbrella’s research becomes an invaluable asset. The new resources at Leon’s disposal within the government assists greatly in transforming him from a rookie cop and competent marksman, to a wholly-refined and skilled special agent.
While Leon continues to offer assistance to the government in their war on bioterrorism in the form of intelligence, he focuses on more traditional law enforcement in his personal field work, not wanting to get caught up in another horrific incident like the one he had barely survived. This doesn’t stop him from catching wind of more experiments occurring at a secret facility in a remote ocean location, Sheena Island. He sends his friend, Detective Ark Thompson, to investigate in November of 1998. Two months later he is contacted in distress by Claire Redfield -- captured by Umbrella and trapped on a T-Virus-infested Rockfort Island -- and himself tracks down her brother Chris and sends him to the rescue.
Leon is dispatched to South America in 2002 in an effort to apprehend a man named Javier Hidalgo, who had been approached by a former Umbrella researcher with remaining wares from the company's biological weaponry. Leon was paired with seasoned special operations agent Jack Krauser on the assignment. Upon arrival, the two find themselves wrapped up in a T-Virus outbreak, and in the company of a strange, sickly girl in the form of Manuela. Manuela turns out to be Javier's daughter, infected with a rare terminal illness and kept alive through regular injections o the T-Veronica virus.
Throughout the operation, Leon recounts to Krauser his experience with the Umbrella Corporation during the Raccoon City outbreak. After narrowly escaping death numerous times at the hands of Umbrella's B.O.W.s, Leon and Krauser confront Javier. The South American drug lord infects himself with the T-Veronica virus and merges with a sort of plant creature, but it is not enough to save him from Leon's experienced hands. Manuela is taken into government custody following her father's death. Sometime after the mission, Leon would learn that Krauser had been killed in a fatal traffic collision.
Six years following the destruction of Raccoon City and the collapse of the Umbrella Corporation, Leon has become one of the government's top-performing agents, and is assigned to protecting the new President of the United States and his family. Ashley Graham, the president's daughter, is kidnapped and taken to a remote village in Spain. Leon is sent to track her down, and becomes involved in taking down a terror threat initiated by a group of fanatics calling themselves the Los Illuminados.
Leon receives some help in the form of Luis Sera, a native police officer, and manages to both locate and extract Ashley from her isolation. However, all attempts to pull the pair out of the area are met with extreme aggression from the Los Illuminados. Their leader, Lord Saddler, explains his plan to infect Ashley with the Las Plagas virus and send her back to the United States to provoke chaos. He also reveals that Leon himself has been infected with the same virus.
Luis, revealing himself as one of the researchers responsible for the creation of Las Plagas, attempts to cure both Leon and Ashley, but is abruptly killed by Saddler. Leon soldiers on, protecting his subject and escorting her through the various trips and traps laid out by the sadistic organization. When Ashley is abducted once again by the Los Illuminados, Leon is assisted by Ada Wong in finding her, confirming prior rumors that she is both alive and under the employ of Albert Wesker.
Leon is also confronted by Jack Krauser, the seasoned veteran having faked his death shortly after Operation Javier, and sought out Wesker's aid. He insults Leon for being blind to the kind of power that the Umbrella Corporation's research can instill into a human body, but despite all of his blustering, he is ultimately killed by his former partner.
Leon tracks Ashley to an island and again rescues her. The two manage to extract the Los Plagas from their bodies before confronting Saddler. Leon fares well against the cult leader, but his Plagas transformation is more than the skilled agent can handle. However, he is again assisted by Ada, who tosses him a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, with which Leon ends the Illuminados threat. Ada takes Saddler's Plagas sample from Leon at gunpoint, mirroring the events near the end of Resident Evil 2, but gives the agent the keys to her water ski. Leon and Ashley barely manage to escape the island before the self-destruct mechanism completes, and await rescue surrounded by nothing but ocean and the early-morning sun.
Leon Scott Kennedy returns as one of three protagonists in Resident Evil 6, the other two being returning hero Chris Redfield and a new character to the Resident Evil universe, Jake Muller, who is the son of Wesker.
Set in 2013, fifteen years after the Raccoon City Incident, President Adam Benford decides to reveal the truth behind the incident in Ivy University, Tall Oaks. But he is infected with the C-Virus and turned into a zombie before he can make the announcement. Leon is forced to shoot the zombified Adam in order to save his new partner, Helena Harper. Everyone then believes that it was Leon and Helena that killed the President, and they are forced to escape.
A man at the university guides Leon and Helena through the university in search of his daughter. They later find her, only for her to turn into a zombie and kill her father. Some time later, Hunnigan informs Leon and Helena that over 70,000 people have been infected with the C-Virus, and they were also informed that this virus has also been used by bio-terrorists in China and that it was the same virus used in Eastern Europe six months earlier. Leon then asks Hunnigan if she can fake their deaths so they can get to China and track down the people behind these outbreaks.
Leon manages to track down the woman behind the outbreaks, Ada Wong, but he is preceded by Chris and his partner Piers Nivans who has her surrounded at gunpoint. But just as Chris is ready to pull the trigger, Leon disarms Chirs, and after a brief struggle ending with both of them pulling their pistol on each other, Leon says this to Chris, "Put your gun down Chris, she's a key witness, we need her." Chris, clearly angry, says "A witness?! She's the one who did all this!"
During Resident Evil 2, rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy is portrayed as being very 'wet behind the ears' and often lets his general naivete and trust get the best of him. Despite that, the seeds for his desire and fierce motivations to see the people behind B.O.W. outbreaks brought to justice are still very evident.
After being recruited by the US Government to be trained as an agent, Leon steadily grows into becoming an equally capable and confident man. From his appearances in Resident Evil 4 onwards, Leon portrays himself as somewhat stoic, but cocky, perhaps even a little brash, and usually has a corny one-liner at the ready for most combat situations as a sign to show off his now unflappable nature amidst B.O.W. threats.
Leon is most often also characterized as being something of a ladies man, as he continually manages to spark an interest from the majority of the women he works alongside with.
In S.D. Perry's novelization of the Resident Evil series, Leon makes his first appearance in the third installment, chronicling the events of the Raccoon City outbreak. He appears again alongside Claire Redfield and a series of characters created specially for the novels in the following book, and makes a brief cameo in Code: Veronica when he relays information about Claire's situation at Rockfort Island to Chris.
In the novels, Leon is portrayed as a highly-intelligent, brave, but under-confident rookie police officer. Even in his appearances following Raccoon City, he continues to be "green" amongst his superiors. Perry depicts the character as having a strong connection with Claire, with whom it is hinted that he began a relationship shortly after the two escaped Umbrella's underground facility. As the books were discontinued, the more experienced, confident Leon found in Resident Evil 4 never makes an appearance.
Resident Evil: Degeneration
Resident Evil: Degeneration is a computer generated feature-length film produced by Capcom and released in the United States in 2008. Set as a precursor to the then-upcoming Resident Evil 5, it stars Leon S. Kennedy (Paul Mercier) and Claire Redfield (Alyson Court). Amidst a T-virus outbreak, the two Raccoon City survivors are reunited in an attempt to uncover a terrorism plot involving Umbrella's research, and put an end to the black market peddling of bio-organic weapons.
Resident Evil: Damnation
Resident Evil: Damnation is a computer generated feature-length film being produced by Capcom and scheduled to be released in the United States in 2012. Serving as a sequel to Degeneration, Damnation features Leon Kennedy wrapped up in the midst of a civil war within an undisclosed European country between the Government and a small band of Freedom Fighters. Both factions are revealed to be using B.O.W. weapons against one another (most notably the Las Plagas), however.
Toy Biz (now Marvel Toys) released the first line of action figures based upon the Resident Evil franchise, and Leon was featured in a package alongside a Licker and a shotgun with which to (presumably) do battle with it. The figure was released in 1998 and was based upon the character in his Resident Evil 2 iteration, showcasing his RPD uniform and signature weaponry.
Neca Toys released figures for Resident Evil 4 with two variations on Leon. One had him wearing his bomber jacket while the other was without. Neca later made an updated version of Leon in his R.P.D. uniform. Hot toys created 12" version of this figure with multiple points of articulation and a vast array of weapons.