When the initial promotion for the upcoming Halloween film began circulating, people have been curious exactly where this film lies in the Halloween timeline. This is mainly because in both previous timelines (discounting the Rob Zombie Reboot) Laurie Strode is already dead. So, it would have to take place in a third branching timeline. Now all the previous timelines usually begin their story after both of original Halloween films that John Carpenter worked on, but this one is doing something a bit different.
According to Halloween (2018) co-writer Danny McBride:
“We’re kind of ignoring all the films past the first one. It picks up after the first one, but it’s sort of an alternate reality. It’s as if the first Halloween ended in a slightly different way.”
In this instance, instead of vanishing at the end of the first film, or at least instead of getting away entirely, Dr. Loomis along wit the Haddonfield police department recapture Michael Myers and send him back to the sanitarium, where Loomis treated him until his death in the ‘90s. So, that’s where Michael has been the last 40 years. Meanwhile, Laurie went on to have a daughter named Karen, who herself grew up and had a daughter as well named Andi.
With all of that said, what all happened in this new timeline, and what didn’t? Well in every timeline as a child Michael kills his older sister Judith on October 19th, 1957 and is sent to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for treatment by Dr. Samuel Loomis. Though Loomis tries to help, he eventually begins to view Michael as just pure evil. On October 30th, 1978, Michael escaped from the Sanitarium and began to track down a girl in Haddonfield, IL named Laurie Strode. He begins his killing spree the next night on Halloween, while Laurie is babysitting. Michael ends up killing two of Laurie’s friends and one of their boyfriends before going after Laurie herself. This whole time, Dr. Loomis is tracking him down in order to stop his rampage. Laurie was able to fend him off long enough for Loomis to catch up with them and shoot Michael six times, causing him to fall off the balcony to the ground. But when Loomis went to inspect the body, he was gone.
Those are the only events that we know take place in this new timeline, save for Loomis shooting Michael which may not have happened. This leaves out the events of Halloween II, IV-VI which form one timeline, and H2O and Ressurection, which form the other. So, what did we miss from those films? Well strap in, because this is when things get nuts.
In Halloween II, we learn that Laurie Strode is Michael’s younger sister, and learn he’s drawn to kill his family around Halloween night due to the curse of Samhain, more on that later. This film ends with Loomis sacrificing himself to kill Michael by immolating both of them with fire. This was supposed to be the end of the story, but because the studio wanted to milk the franchise and audiences didn’t take to the anthology idea that John Carpenter wanted, Michael returned in part IV having apparently just walked off his complete immolation. Loomis survived also but had minor burn scaring, so I guess the fire wasn’t as hot as we thought it’d be. In this film, Laurie died off screen but had a daughter named Jamie Lloyd who became Michael’s new target. Jamie is able to escape with the help of her adoptive sister, Rachel, and Loomis, with Michael being riddled with shotguns blasts, falling down a mineshaft, and being pulling downriver. The film ends with the implication that Jamie will take Michael place as the killer.
But never mind that, because part V basically ignores that it happened, now Jamie is in a mental institute and Michael is still alive somehow. Also, Rachel is killed about halfway through the second act. Anyway, this film ends with Michael, after being tranquilized and beaten unconscious by Loomis, being taken into custody, but then a man in black shows up, guns down everyone in the place, and vanishes with Michael and Jamie.
This turns out to be Terence Wynn, a friend of Loomis’s from the sanitarium who briefly appeared in the first film. He part of a cult that worships a being called Thorn appropriately called the Thorn Cult, and he is Michaels protector. Turns out that whole curse thing from the second film was caused by this cult, who chose Michael to be their unstoppable killing machine for whatever reason. After an older Jamie Lloyd gives birth at the start of the film, she’s immediately killed off by Michael. Now it’s up to Paul Rudd playing one of the kids Laurie was babysitting in the first film, Dr. Loomis, and Laurie’s kind of cousin to stop them. At this point, the story is so off the rails that it doesn’t really matter how it ends.
With the next film being the 20th anniversary of the first film, it was decided to wipe 4-6 from continuity and continue the story straight from 2. This time, Laurie survived, because Jamie Lee Curtis was willing to come back this time, but faked her death, changed her name Keri Tate, and had a son. Michael tracks her down and they have their final battle when Laurie manages to take off Michael’s head. Except, psyche, not really, the next film, Resurrection, reveals Michael, somehow, swapped places with an ambulance driver, who is actually who Laurie killed. Because I guess on top of being a super strong, insane serial killer, Michael is also a master magician. Laurie ends up in a mental institution for killing an innocent man but still prepped for Michael to find her again. When he does, she traps him on the roof, but before she can kill him, Michael pretends to be someone else so she’ll think someone’s being set up to die in his place again. Michael then knocks her off the roof, killing her. The rest of the film is a reality show taking place in the Myers’ house.
So yeah, as you can see, not much of value is lost from removing most of those films from continuity. Really the only staple of the franchise they miss by omitting the film from 2 onward is that it may have never bee confirmed to Laurie that she’s Michael’s sister. But the rest, leaving out the supernatural elements from 2-6, and the inane choices made for Resurrection are probably both for the best. While some of these films work better than others, none work quite as well as the first so that really what you want to start building off of.