'It's 70, 65 percent Purge Night," says executive producer

In May of last year, it was widely reported that the Syfy and USA Network’s upcoming TV show spin-off of The Purge film series would concern what happens in the franchise on non-Purge nights. That seemed a tad strange, given that the Purge universe’s main appeal would seem to be, well, the Purge — a.k.a. the one night a year when citizens are allowed to commit virtually any crime.

James DeMonaco wrote and directed the first three Purge movies and is also executive producer of the small screen version. When DeMonaco recently spoke with EW about the fourth Purge film, First Purge (out July 4), which he also wrote, he explained that fans need not worry about the Purge TV show being insufficiently Purge-y.

“I’d say it’s 70, 65 percent Purge Night and then 30 percent flashback,” said DeMonaco. “We follow four what-seem-to-be separate storylines of people going out on the evening and experiencing the Purge. The real estate of the 10 hours of the TV allows us to use flashback, where we flashback out of the Purge world, into the regular lives, the non-Purge days, of this future America. We get to see who these people are when it’s not Purge Night and the events that led them to where they are on the particular Purge night that we are following. I think it’s a great device. The real estate of TV lets us truly analyze why anyone would resort to violence on Purge Night. So, it’s a slower burn. Whereas the movies are kind of a punch in the face — you know, these big events — I think the TV show, with the real estate of it, allows us to truly analyze why anyone would pick up a gun or a knife to solve a problem. We really get to examine the night, and the intricacies of the evening, and the nuances of the evening, and the different kinds of people who are out on the streets in a way that I just couldn’t do in the movies.”

DeMonaco also said that working on the TV show had made it more likely that he would write at least one more Purge film.

“About five months ago, I would have said that [I was done with the Purge movies],” he explained. “Then we started writing all these scripts for Purge TV, and I realized how many Purge stories could be told, and what it is a metaphor for, and realized, maybe not? I don’t know if I’ll direct any more but I do like still writing Purge, so I think maybe, maybe.”

The Purge series stars William Baldwin, Lili Simmons, Amanda Warren, Colin Woodell, Hannah Anderson, Lee Tergesen, Gabriel Chavarria, and Jessica Garza.

Watch the trailer for First Purge, above.