In a new interview with Vulture, writer and director James DeMonaco shared new information about the upcoming fourth movie in his Purge franchise, currently called The Purge: The Island. We already knew the next movie would be a prequel, but DeMonaco, who is writing the next installment and passing directing duties to Gerard McMurray, told Vulture exclusively that Island will depict the very first, experimental Purge night. Set on Staten Island, the film will demonstrate how the New Founding Fathers’s batshit crazy plan to rescue a dying economy turned into a national holiday in which all crime — including rape and murder — is legal for one whole night each year. “I said it’s the first experimental Purge, which I don’t know if I was supposed to say, but now I’ve said it, so you have it,” laughed DeMonaco. “Next July 4, it’ll be coming.”
DeMonaco knew that the idea of people sticking around their neighborhood for a Purge beta-test event isolated in a single New York City borough was a big plot leap, so it came down to providing cash incentives for anyone willing to participate. “I was wondering how you get people to stay for the first Purge, and what they do is they start monetizing it,” said DeMonaco. “People from Staten Island can easily go to Brooklyn for the evening, so what they do is start promising very decent sums of money for the very poor people in the neighborhood. It becomes a monetization of murder and violence, incentivizing killing and keeping people around for them to be victims. So you see the inception of how grotesque the idea of the Purge is, and the manipulation upon the society.”
Despite this dark premise, DeMonaco promised that Island would be the most “crowd-pleasing” of the Purge films. “It’s so kick ass in its third act,” he said. “What’s fun too is there’s an anti-hero. More than the previous films, there’s a singular hero in this movie. This is one man’s journey, William, an anti-hero [who] was inspired by Eastwood in Unforgiven, so it’s this very cool, modern kind of badass who redeems himself through the story.”
The franchise creator also talked about what the upcoming Purge TV show will cover, saying it will focus on the middle period of the Purge timeline, between the very first “experimental purge” and the events of Election Year. He added that it’ll also develop the central characters more fully. “The movies are more like events,” explained DeMonaco. “In the TV show I think we’re slowing it down, and we’re using this flashback structure to enter into the non-Purge lives of these people. We’re going back six months or two years or into their childhood to see some things that might’ve fed into their decision-making on this particular Purge … Ten hours is allowing us to get deeper into character and deeper into why people would actually consider violence as an option ever.” The series will arrive sometime next year.