When & Where Does Apple TV’s ‘The Changeling’ Take Place?

When Where Does Apple TVs The Changeling Take Place

‘The Changeling’ is an upcoming Apple TV+ series based on a novel written by Victor LaValle under the same name. The show will follow a man named Apollo Kagwa as he tries to figure out what happened to his son following a horrific incident with his wife. ‘The Changeling’ is a horror story first and foremost and a dark fairy tale second. Considering that fairy tales aren’t usually associated with urban and modern settings, we decided to analyze when & where exactly ‘The Changeling’ takes place? 

Please keep in mind that this post will contain extreme spoilers for both the book and the series. Read at your own risk.

‘The Changeling’ takes place in New York City in 2015. It covers a span of 10 months from the birth of Brian Kagwa to his ultimate recovery. Even though the primary location is New York City, some locations are more important than others, primarily North Brother Island and the Forest Hills neighborhood. The story also features some flashbacks that recount the history of Lillian Kagwa, Apollo’s mother & his father, Brian West. 

Now that we’ve covered both the locations and the timeline of ‘The Changeling,’ it’s time to analyze it in more detail. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!

Apollo was in high school when he discovered his passion

The story starts in the past, offering us insight into Apollo’s past or, to be more precise, into the story of Lillian Kagwa. Lillian Kagwa emigrated to the USA in 60′ from Uganda following civil unrest. In 1968 she already met Brian West, who would become her future husband and the father of her son, Apollo. 

Lillian was at first reluctant to date Brian, but eight years later, in 1976, she accepted his date invitation. In April of 1977, Lillian was already pregnant with Apollo, and she was showing, meaning that Apollo was most likely born between late 1977 and early 1978. 

By 1981-1982 Brian West was already gone. Lillian Kagwa divorced him and gained sole custody of their child. 

In 1989 Apollo Kagwa was a junior in High School. By the time he was a senior, he already started reselling used books and magazines. 

In 1995 Apollo was supposed to attend college, but instead, he decided to pursue a full-time career as a used-book salesman, something that was his passion and dreaming about “striking it big” by finding extremely rare and expensive books. 

Apollo was 34 when he met Emma Valentine and 37 when he became father

We know about this part of Apollo’s life because he mentioned he was 34 when he realized that his biological clock was ticking, and soon after that, he met Emma Valentine at a books sale, and the two hit off. This places their first meeting somewhere around 2011-2012. Emma Valentine, however, agreed to go on a date with Apollo only five months later. Four weeks later, she moved to Brazil and lived there for a year before she ultimately returned and started dating Apollo legitimately. 

The next time Apollo mentioned his age, he was 37. He and Emma Valentine were already married, and Apollo was just about to be born, which placed these events in 2014.  


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Brian Kagwa was six months old when Emma supposedly killed him 

We know that Brian was six months old when Emma supposedly killed him, which places this event somewhere around late 2014 or early 2015. We know Brian’s exact age since her sister, Kim Valentine noticed that Emma was acting strange and purchasing chains during her six months post-partum checkup. Chains, which she will later use to bind Apollo to a radiator while she supposedly kills her own son. 

Brian West was allegeldy ten months old when Emma and Brian saved him, although this timeline doesn’t make much sense from a consistency perspective considering that at one point Apollo mentions that it’s been “four months” since he had last seen his baby, meaning that Brian spent four months with the Troll, implying that Brian was kidnaped when he was six months old.

And we know that Brian actually spent much longer with the Troll since Emma started noticing strange things much earlier than the six-month checkup. When “Brian” was six months old, Emma had already figured it out and tried to kill the fake baby. 

Except for that little detail, it’s obvious that the main part of ‘The Changeling’ takes place in 2015. Apollo Kagwa even references it during his conversation with Patrice Green when they were discussing William Wheeler and the fact that he wanted to buy the signed copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ signed by Harper Lee. 

“It’s 2015,” Apollo said. “She might not die for another ten years. Meanwhile, this guy wants to buy it now.”

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The Changeling primarily takes place in New York City 

 Lillian Kagwa and Brian West met in New York, started dating, got married, and had a child, Apollo, in New York. 

This is where Apollo spent all his life and where he started his family. We know that Apollo and Emma Valentine rented an apartment in Manhattan, and this is where the supposed murder took place. 

After the act, Emma escaped to North Brother Island, situated in the East River. In the past, North Brother Island served as a hospital for smallpox victims, tuberculosis victims, and later drug addicts. When the Riverside hospital closed down, the island was largely uninhabited until a group of women, calling themselves the “Wise Ones,” escaped and built a sort of magical community there. 

When Apollo visited North Brother Island, he discovered the truth about magic and that Emma never murdered their son. This is also the Island where Cal and Greta died and where he found out the truth about William Wheeler. 


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Troll lived in the Forest Hills neighborhood 

When Apollo learned the truth about glamour and changelings, he knew that he needed to find the dense forest within New York, and he immediately thought about the Forest Hills neighborhood situated in Queens. 

Forest Hills was surrounded by well a forest. The whole neighborhood was called “Little Norway” due to the prevalence of Norwegian immigrants that came here in the past. Forest Hills is also the area where Nils Knudsen left the Troll after he came to the USA onboard “Restoration.” 

Forest Hills is where Apollo killed Jorgen Knudsen and where Emma killed William Wheeler, and inside the forest itself is where Brian Kagwa was found, and the Troll was dealt with. 

Some other locations were also mentioned in the books, but there weren’t as integral to the main story, so we decided to leave them out. 

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