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While certain franchises can be stretched out for as long as necessary (I'm looking at you, Star Wars), others have an expiration date. It turns out that The Purge, one of the defining horror film series of this decade, falls into the latter category, as creator James DeMonaco has already given thought into how he can wrap up this dystopic saga in one last movie. Speaking about the next cinematic Purge entry, DeMonaco said:
I have it in my head. I think I'm going to write it. I think it's a great way to end it all. We want to end it all, I think, in this one, and I'm very excited. When I came up with the idea and pitched it to everybody, they seemed psyched, and I think it will be a really cool ending, how we take this one home.
The first Purge movie only came out five years ago, and given how long franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street have lasted, you wouldn't be faulted for thinking that The Purge series could at least hit the decade milestone, if not go longer. But evidently James DeMonaco is already mulling over how to wrap things up, as he informed EW. While there's no inkling yet of when the next Purge movie will be released, make peace with the fact that it will mark the conclusion of this franchise. Well, unless someone decides to reboot it a decade or two later, that is.
Although the Purge movies have earned mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, the film series has done quite well commercially, collecting over $457 million worldwide. With numbers like that, one could definitely imagine the this franchise going on for longer, but I also don't blame James DeMonaco for not wanting to overstay the welcome. As we've seen with many franchises, taking that approach can often taint the overall legacy.
The Purge series launched in 2013 with, you guessed it, The Purge. Starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, the first movie introduced us to this alternate version of the United States, which is ruled by the New Founding Fathers of America (NFAA) and where for one 12-hour period each year, all crime is legal, including murder. As a result, the country's economy has strengthened and unemployment has dropped to 1%, but with emergency services unavailable during this time, it's up to each citizen to stay alive until this chaotic event is over.
Just one year later, The Purge: Anarchy followed, this one introducing us to Frank Grillo's Leo Barnes and taking the action out into the depths of Los Angeles rather than keeping the action in just one location. This sequel also showed that the Purge event is used by the wealthy to specifically eliminate America's poor population.
2016's The Purge: Election Year saw Leo returning to protect Senator Charlie Roan, who's running for president and wants to overturn the Purge. Despite being targeted by the NFAA, (spoiler alert) Roan managed to survive that year's Purge, win the presidential election and it was implied that soon the Purge would be no more.
You'd think that with an ending like that, Election Year could have been the final Purge movie. And as far as the present day timeline of this franchise, perhaps it still is truly the end. But earlier this year, the franchise wound the clock back to the first Purge in, well, The First Purge. This was the first of the series not to be directed by James DeMonaco, though he still wrote the script. Gerard McMurray sat in the director's chair instead.
In The First Purge, we watched the NFFA testing the Purge in Staten Island and monitoring the results from afar. Needless to say that things got quite out of hand, but it didn't matter, because the event was deemed a success. By the next year, the Purge would be rolled out nationwide, laying the groundwork for the previous three movies.
I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention that the Purge franchise is now no longer limited to the big screen. The Purge TV series premiered on the USA Network September 4 and the season finale drops on November 6. Here's what showrunner Tom Kelly previously said on how the show differentiates itself from the movies:
I watched some of the movies, and what I liked about it was, it's this great concept that sort of puts the audience in that position [of] 'What would you do?' . . . And for me, we wanted to do the show to take it past the movies. As James would say it, the movies are like ten minutes of character and 80 minutes of 'Will they survive the night?' In a ten-hour format, we get to do much more. We really get to delve into character. And one of the ways we do that is through flashbacks. We don't just see our characters on the night of. We get to learn about them and see what in their life led them to their decisions that they're going to make on the night of. So it's been kinda great to dig into character the way the movies aren't afforded the time to do.
There's no word yet on if The Purge TV series will get a Season 2, although it did, the show would take the anthology route, meaning new characters and stories would be brought in. Still, if the Purge film series does end, the TV show could conceivably keep going and provide viewers deeper insight into this unsettling world.
As for the final Purge movie that James DeMonaco is kicking around, that hasn't gotten an official green light yet. Still, given how much money this series has brought in for Blumhouse, it's likelier than not that the production company would give Monaco the opportunity to properly finish things rather than just leave The First Purge as the final installment.