The Purge creator James DeMonaco explains why The Forever Purge isn't a "direct sequel"

The Forever Purge
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Forever Purge is the fifth – and supposedly final – movie in The Purge franchise. The First Purge released in 2018, but The Forever Purge has been described as a direct sequel to the third Purge film, 2016's The Purge: Election Year, which ended with anti-Purge night politician Senator Charlene "Charlie" Roan being elected President of the United States.

However, series creator and The First Purge writer/producer James DeMonaco says that it takes place in a very time period. "I wouldn't call this a direct sequel because years have passed, and it's quickly revealed that a new regime has taken over," he explains. "Charlie Roan, whose first move as President was to eliminate the Purge, wasn't re-elected and has been gone for years. The divide in America grew. The New Founding Fathers were voted back into power, and the Purge was reinstated."

The film opens with Mexican couple Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huerta) fleeing a Mexican drug cartel and making their way to a Texas ranch, where they eventually encounter a pack of Purge enthusiasts. "Adela and Juan are seeking sanctuary in the promise of America, not the horrible reality of what America has become in the Purge world," says DeMonaco. "They fled trouble in Mexico and are hoping that some part of the American dream still remains, even in a world where the Purge still exists. The film asks the question, 'Is the dream still alive?' Their journey, through intense Purge action, represents a contemplation of this question, which they won't be able to answer until the end of the film – if they survive, of course…"

Although the newest instalment in the Purge franchise arrives amid a global pandemic and ongoing political unrest, filming was completed in February 2020, prior to Covid-19 being declared a pandemic, and long before the siege of the United States Capitol. Despite that, DeMonaco says that the movie is very relevant. 

"People who have seen an early cut are amazed that the film was completed over a year ago," he says. "I think that the film's prescience will really frighten and grip audiences and make them ask and answer some difficult questions, even as they're entertained and thrilled."

The First Purge arrives this July 2. You can check out the full interview with DeMonaco and director Everardo Gout in the current issue of SFX Magazine, which features The Tomorrow War on the cover. For more from SFX, make sure to sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.