The Definitive Timeline of the ROCK Film & TV Franchise
The Rock is starring in “Young Rock,” a series about his formative years on NBC. But where does it stand in the chronology of the other films and TV series about his life?
Over the years, there has been no shortage of articles written to explain the basic chronology of events across the Star Wars films and television series, and in what order each installment should be watched — if at all. And while for years, film critics have overlooked the far more pressing need of establishing the true timeline of events across the five Home Alone films (Home Alone 4 breaks everything, as I discovered during my Christmas Day live tweet of the entire franchise), this morning I was forced to abandon that task for yet another day, as duty called to respond to a new emergency of content chronology.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will star in Young Rock, a comedy series about the formative years of his childhood for NBC. Newly positioned NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy announced the straight-to-series, 11-episode pickup amidst the company’s day at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour.
But where will Young Rock fall in the timeline of all the other film and television series about The Rock’s life that we’ve come to love? It’s a lot to figure out. But fear not. Thankfully — heroically, really — I’ve done that work for you.
Here is the official, definitive chronology of every film and television show in the ever-growing franchise of The Rock’s completely true life story. (Please, don’t bother to fact check this.)
1. Young Rock
Though not much is known about the new series, NBC’s Young Rock will follow The Rock through the formative years of his childhood.
2. School of Rock
Upon entering fifth grade, Young Rock turns into a young rock star when a visionary teacher-turned-bandleader takes Dwayne and other students under his wing, forming a band of kids called The School of Rock—all in the teacher’s hopes of winning the local Battle of the Bands for rent money.
The legally and logically questionable actions of this teacher will influence Young Rock later in life, as we’ll see shortly.
School of Rock would later be adapted for Broadway in 2015, becoming the second stage musical based on The Rock’s life. A few months later, it was adapted into a Nickelodeon television series, which is also a completely true representation of events in the life of fifth-grade Young Rock.
3. 3rd Rock
A sitcom about The Rock’s life at home under his parents. It’s told from his perspective, a la Young Sheldon — hence the series’ full title, 3rd Rock (from the Son).
4. Camp Rock
This Disney Channel Original Movie follows Young Rock’s fateful summer at music camp. After totally embarrassing and disappointing his parents by losing the Battle of the Bands in School of Rock, Young Rock’s mom and dad send him off to Camp Rock to better learn how to be a good musician. Think Whiplash, but with a more Disney-friendly J.K. Simmons character. (In fact, though not credited on the final film, Camp Rock is believed to have been directed by Damien Chazelle.)
However, Young Rock ultimately leaves Camp Rock with an aptitude for something greater than music: love. After falling head over heels for fellow camper Mitchie (Demi Lovato), Young Rock is distraught to leave summer camp still single, struggling to get over his first love.
5. Rock of Love
Still reeling from the unrequited love he harbored for Mitchie after his time at Camp Rock, a19-year-old Rock returned home and organized an experimental, competitive dating series designed to find him a new muse and life partner. Across three seasons, he experienced some short-lived relationships but never married, winding up alone in the end yet again.
Note: Billed as a “reality series”, the Rock of Love that aired on VH1 was a scripted, mockumentary-style biographical depiction of true events. While Dwayne “Teen Rock” Johnson actually did convince 68 women to compete for his affection over three seasons, he forgot to hire a film crew to film the undertaking. Having grown up in the spotlight, he just, like, assumed that camera crews would materialize around him whenever he did something cool enough. Thus, nothing was recorded for broadcast. Years later, every passing moment of his real-life Rock of Love experience was filmed word-for-word from memory — but when Poison’s lead singer found himself in need of a new break in his career, The Rock agreed to let an aging Bret Michaels take his place as the lead contestant, updating the depicted ages of the male lead and female contestants for believability. Everything else remained the same, and actually happened to Dwayne “Teen Rock” Johnson.
6. Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
After failing to find a wife though Rock of Love, Teen Rock returns to Camp Rock and finally wins the affection of his first and lifelong love, Mitchie. At the end of the movie, they kiss.
It is understood that after the events of Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Teen Rock and Mitchie date for ten years and finally marry.
Nine days later, Mitchie files for divorce.
7. 30 Rock
After losing everything in the bitter divorce proceedings, a now-adult Rock is forced to reckon with the financial ruin of his musical career and navigate singledom once again, all on the eve of his 30th birthday.
8. Schoolhouse Rock!
Disguised as an animated educational series for the classroom, Schoolhouse Rock! is actually a trippy, abstract look at The Rock’s time spent as principal of the school he attended in School of Rock, Horace Green Prep.
9. Jailhouse Rock
Still unfulfilled with his life by the end of the events depicted in Schoolhouse Rock!, Principal Rock reflected on his greatest role model: his teacher from School of Rock who attempted to take advantage of his students for his own personal financial gain. Needing a better, less obvious plan to defraud his school out of its money, The Rock turned to what he considered the greatest heist film of all time for inspiration: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd — the unauthorized Dumb and Dumber prequel that starred Eugene Levy as a high school principal who establishes a fake special needs class in order to obtain an educational grant he plans to steal to purchase a condo in Waikiki, Hawaii, for himself and his secret girlfriend, the school cafeteria lady.
The Rock reconstructed this stunt exactly as it was shown in Dumb and Dumberer — even dating the school cafeteria lady for full accuracy. Indeed, the scheme worked out exactly as it did for Levy’s character, with The Rock being arrested in front of the entire school during its Thanksgiving Parade. The Rock is sentenced to prison, and this is where the events of Jailhouse Rock begin. While there, he rediscovers his love for music and devotes his time to honing his rock and roll skills, ultimately becoming the greatest musician of all-time and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
10. Cop Rock
ABC’s legendary short-lived musical police drama Cop Rock tracked The Rock’s triumphant turnaround from prison inmate to LAPD officer, deftly depicting his transition from the wrong side of the law to the right side in a way that would directly inspire the reverse character trajectory seen in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
11. Rock of Ages
Based on the 2005 jukebox musical famously known as the first stage production about The Rock’s completely true life, the 2012 musical dramedy film Rock of Ages finds Old Rock reflecting on the loves, losses, and regrets of his life through an epic series of flashbacks — a framework that would later be directly copied without credit by Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. A glitch in the application of anti-aging technology during Rock of Ages resulted in the real-life Rock losing the ability to visibly age at all.
And there you have it, folks. The definitive timeline of The Rock’s biographical film and TV franchise. You’re welcome.