Franchise creator James DeMonaco talks about the latest sequel and TV series spin-off

After overseeing three Purge movies, filmmaker and franchise creator James DeMonaco has handed the director’s chair to Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands) for the fourth installment of the franchise about an America where citizens are allowed to commit virtually any crime on a designated night of the year. But DeMonaco is not purging himself of The Purge (aha!). The director is writing Purge 4 and is also heavily involved in a TV show spin-off which will air on USA and SYFY. In a new interview with Vulture, DeMonaco let slip a few nuggets of info about both projects.

First nugget? The cast of Purge 4, which is released July 4, 2018, will have a different racial makeup than the previous movies. “It’s 90 percent black people,” said DeMonaco. “So yeah, you get a little daunted. Like, ‘What am I — Italian guy from Staten Island — what am I bringing to this?’ But hopefully I’m telling the universal story.”

DeMonaco also revealed that the film will be set on Staten Island during the first “experimental” Purge. “I was wondering how you get people to stay for the first Purge, and what they do is they start monetizing it,” said DeMonaco, who referred to the film as “Island” at one point in the interview. “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, the manipulation upon the society. That’s where it becomes, sadly, I think, very topical right now with the current administration.”

The TV show, meanwhile, will be set “in the middle” of the Purge timelines, when just over half a dozen of the annual events have taken place. “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,” said DeMonaco. “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. The long form is actually allowing it to become more of a character study, which is kind of cool, instead of a singular event of surviving the night. We have a black female lead. We have a young Puerto Rican brother and sister. We have an Asian character. It’s opening [the story] up, in a way. Ten hours is allowing us to get deeper into character, and deeper into why people would actually consider violence as an option. We’ll see it next year.”