At this week's New York Comic Con, the "Godfather of the Purge," creator, executive producer, and writer James DeMonaco, actors Derek Luke (Marcus), Rochelle Aytes (Michelle), Joel Allen (Ben), Paola Nunez (Esme), and executive producers and writers Krystal Houghton Ziv and James Roland took the stage at Hammerstein Ballroom during a drizzly autumn day to watch the first episode (!), talk about the new season, and field questions from fans. Here's what we learned.
1. Season 2 takes 15 years after the first Purge.
Houghton Ziv clarified the Purge chronology, stating that the new season takes place 15 years after the first Purge on Staten Island. She noted that characters like Ben, a college student, grew up with the Purge, and don't remember what their world was like without it. Roland later added that in this season, college students will critically discuss the nature of the Purge.
2. Season 2 is about world-building.
What is it like to live in a society riddled with Purge-induced anxiety? As DeMonaco and the show's executive producers explained, Season 2 is committed to illuminating "slices of the [Purge] world" and "the repercussions of the Purge" outside of Purge Night. "The real estate of the 10 hours of TV allows to explore the world," DeMonaco said. The new season will feature the voice audition for the woman who delivers the Purge announcement, Purge tourists from other countries, and use certain plot developments to better understand how this world operates under the NFFA's governing fist.
3. The God Mask from The Purge: Anarchy plays a big role in Season 2.
According to Houghton Ziv, the writers wanted to incorporate something similar to the God Mask that appeared in The Purge: Anarchy, and ended up deciding to bring back the God Mask in all its terrifying glory.
4. We'll meet Bobby Sheridan this season.
Season 2 will include more Easter eggs from season 1 than from the movies. Remember Bobby Sheridan, the pro-Purge evangelist from the first season? We'll get to meet him in person, and learn more about his guiding philosophy.
5. Children are likely protected under the laws of the Purge.
In response to a fan's question about the Purge in relation to abortion and child abuse, DeMonaco said that "children are hands-off on Purge night" and that he's not interested in delving into their role in the Purge, saying it's "too dark a place." He speculated that the NFFA would keep the Purge to ages 18 and over, with children granted immunity as Level 10s.
6. The new season advances arguments that the premise of the Purge is false.
Two central character arcs of the new season will work against the NFFA's argument that the Purge reduces violent crime. "it has been proven by the NFFA that violent crime rates have come down, thanks to the Purge," Nunez said. "That's why [Esme] is a firm believer that' she's doing the right things. Until she finds out the NFFA is holding a secret." According to DeMonaco, Ben's story suggests that violence is not subject to restrictions like the Purge. "Violence is not containable to one evening," he said," and it's slowly going to creep its way into society. That's what makes it so compelling."
7. There's a reason Staten Island was the site of the first Purge.
Two actually. The first, said DeMonaco, is that "it's my hometown!" The second is more for a more practical purposes: it is an island, only accessible by three bridges and a ferry. "No one is getting on or off that island at that time," DeMonaco said.
8. The actors themselves would never Purge! (Unless you count robbing a bank…)
As it turns out, the members of the panel aren't big Purgers. When asked how they would act on Purge night, Luke and Aytes both said they would be tempted to rob a bank, but wouldn't engage in anything resembling murder. Allen said he would "hide out underground like Michael Shannon in Take Shelter." Nunez said that she would return to her native Mexico, and if she missed her flight, she "would play dead all night." As for DeMonaco? "I would be in Canada."
Pictured: (l-r) James DeMonaco, Creator, Writer, Producer, The Purge; Matt Fowler, Moderator; Joel Allen; Paola Nunez; Derek Luke; Rochelle Aytes; James Roland, Executive Producer, Writer, The Purge; Krystal Ziv, Executive Producer, The Purge -- (Photo by: Astrid Stawiarz/USA Network)