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‘The Purge’ Timeline Explained by Director James DeMonaco: What Happened in 2017?

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Explaining the ‘Purge’ Timeline: Director James DeMonaco Reflects on 2017

With a decade having passed and the sixth installment of The Purge film series on the horizon, fans revisiting the movies are naturally curious about the timeline of this intense universe. In an interview with Perri Nemiroff from FilmSweep, James DeMonaco, the director and screenwriter of The Purge, shed some light on the timeline of his creation and acknowledged its occasional “disaster” status.

The Purge timeline becomes slightly convoluted due to conflicting information between The First Purge and the original movie. In The Purge: Anarchy, we discover that the sixth Purge takes place in 2023, making 2018 the year of the first nationwide Purge. However, the first movie features footage from Purges in both 2018 and 2017, with the 2017 footage not originating from The First Purge, which depicted a localized experiment on Staten Island, presumably occurring in 2016. With these discrepancies in mind, Nemiroff asked DeMonaco about the events of 2017. DeMonaco acknowledged that the timeline was a “disaster” and explained the reason behind it:

“The timeline is such a disaster because we couldn’t go back and retroactively change the dates of ‘Purge 1’ when I realized, ‘Oh, I’m completely off here. This won’t work.’ So, yes, you’re right. I always believed that for the second Purge, they expanded from Staten Island, which is a small borough only seven miles wide, to an entire state Purge. For example, they would choose a state like New York or Georgia.”

DeMonaco went on to tell Nemiroff that one way to address the timeline error is to view the Purge as an ever-expanding event. The New Founding Fathers needed a successful outcome from that deadly night before implementing government-sanctioned violence nationwide. However, the filmmaker admitted that this explanation doesn’t fully resolve the issue. DeMonaco stated:

“When we were working on the TV show, I remember sitting in the writers’ room and trying to figure out the timeline, and I thought, ‘Oh damn, I think we’re off.’ We were all attempting to fix it, saying, ‘Okay, blah, blah, blah,’ but you caught it. Yes, that’s the problem.”

Nemiroff suggested that this gap could potentially be filled in with future movies, to which DeMonaco enthusiastically agreed, saying, “Exactly!”

The Purge 6 is currently in the early stages of development, with Frank Grillo expected to reprise his role as Leo Barnes. More details, including the release date, are yet to be announced. You can watch Nemiroff’s interview with DeMonaco above and check out the trailer for The First Purge below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Purge timeline

Q: What is the timeline of The Purge film series?

A: The timeline of The Purge film series can be a bit confusing due to conflicting information between movies. The first nationwide Purge is depicted in 2018 in The Purge: Anarchy, but footage from 2017 is also shown in the first movie. Director James DeMonaco acknowledged the timeline as a “disaster” and explained that the initial plan was to expand from a small borough to a state Purge. However, future movies may address these timeline discrepancies and fill in the gaps.

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movieLover91 July 8, 2023 - 3:04 pm

omg this is so cool! i love the Purge movies! i never noticed the timeline problems before lol. it’s interesting to hear the director talk about it. can’t wait for the next Purge movie!!

horrorfanatic23 July 8, 2023 - 8:46 pm

wow, so the timeline is all messed up huh? that’s kinda crazy but also kinda funny. i guess they didn’t think about it when they made the first movie. but hey, at least they’re acknowledging it now and maybe they’ll fix it in the future. fingers crossed!

filmBuff99 July 8, 2023 - 11:23 pm

I always wondered about the timeline in The Purge series. It’s confusing but also kinda fun to try and figure it out. It’s cool that they’re open to addressing the timeline issues in future movies. Can’t wait to see what they come up with!


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