Ethan Winters is a deeply unlucky man. First his wife gets kidnapped by moldy swamp people, and then, three years later, his daughter gets kidnapped by Romanian monster people. And that’s not even mentioning the sheer amount of physical trauma his hands have been forced to endure. Still, even through all of that, he has proved highly resilient, but everyone’s number has to come up eventually. So does Ethan die in Resident Evil Village?
The answer is… yes and no. Is Ethan killed by Mother Miranda, the head of the four lords of the village and mastermind of Rose’s kidnapping? No. No he is not. Because Ethan has already been dead for quite a while.
After he defeats Heisenberg, Miranda gives a little villainous monologue to Ethan about why she kidnapped Rose and what she plans to do with her. Obviously, Ethan isn’t having it, but unfortunately, Miranda doesn’t care much for his opinion, and rips his heart out of his chest. For anyone else, this would be instant death, but for Ethan, it’s the source of a realization.
Does Ethan Die in Resident Evil Village?
Similarly to when he was encased in mold in Resident Evil 7 and had a vision of Jack, Ethan, in his near-death state, has a vision of Eveline, the source of the mold in the previous game. Eveline makes a salient point: how was Ethan able to survive all of the physical trauma he’s endured over the course of his time in the village? After all, normal people can’t just stick their severed hands back on their arms with a bit of antiseptic.
The reason is that Ethan isn’t normal; back in the very beginning of Resident Evil 7, when Jack punches him out and stomps on his head, Ethan dies right then and there. However, by that point, he had already been infected by Eveline’s mold, gaining the same superhuman regenerative abilities as the Bakers. How do you think Zoe was able to staple his left hand back on?
For the past three years, Ethan has essentially been a mold homunculus, with the viral particles maintaining an almost perfect facsimile of human body functions. This is how he was able to have Rose with Mia, and why Rose has natural molded abilities.
Now, returning to what we first said, that being the “yes and no,” the “yes” is that Ethan does die at the end of Resident Evil 8. After Miranda tore his heart out, it took his body’s mold everything it had to keep him going just long enough to kill her and save Rose. When his drive runs out, his body begins to calcify. Knowing he doesn’t have much time left, he swipes Chris’ detonator and blows up the Megamycete along with himself to completely destroy the remaining mold.
So as far as we know, Ethan is dead. Though, in fairness, molded people have managed to survive calcification before, so maybe he’ll return someday if Capcom is feeling plucky.