The Nun, arriving in US theaters beginning September 7th, is the latest spinoff from The Conjuring franchise, launched by James Wan in 2013. The demonic Valak (played by Bonnie Aarons) first went toe-to-toe with Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively) in The Conjuring 2 (released in 2016) where she was a consummate scene stealer. There are subtle clues, however, that the evil nun has been lurking around The Conjuring franchise since Day 1, and even pops up in another spinoff.
The Nun, directed by Corin Hardy, is an origin story for Valak that takes place in the 1950s and devoted and studied Conjuring fans are looking for connections throughout the franchise that may not have been immediately apparent. A great example is the video at the bottom of the article from the YouTubers at CZsWorld: “19 Things You Missed That Set Up The Nun”! Though the narrator has yet to see The Nun himself, meaning many of his observations can’t be confirmed (at this time) he offers some incredible observations, making a great case that Valak has been subtly yet inaugurally woven into the very fabric of the series. Let’s review some of his key points by examining each Conjuring movie and spinoff individually.
First, here are some potential hints at Valak’s presence from 2013’s The Conjuring:
- The first time we enter the Warren’s basement, where they house cursed objects from past cases (including the Annabelle doll) there is a portrait of a creepy nun on the back wall. Of course, it pales in comparison to the portrait Wilson paints of Valak in The Conjuring 2!
- In a picture on the wall of Carolyn Perron (played by Lili Taylor), some believe you can see the silhouette of a nun standing behind her family (this one is, admittedly, a stretch).
The next film in The Conjuring franchise is Annabelle (released in 2015) and, while there don’t appear to be any direct connections to The Nun, there is religious imagery that at least establishes similar thematic overtones.
- We see several statues of nuns throughout the film.
- We see an actual nun sitting outside a room in the hospital.
- Tech-savvy Conjuring fans have reversed the audio from the record player that kicks on at the end of the film. While it’s nothing conclusive, it sounds a lot like a church choir with serious demonic undertones.
While Valak appears in earnest in The Conjuring 2, there are clues throughout the film the suggest the demon nun is more entrenched in the Warren family’s lives than they initially realize. For example:
- When Lorraine has her out of body experience at The Amityville Horror House, she wakes up in a bed with a picture of a nun above the nightstand. As she walks around the house, retracing the killer’s steps, we see nun figurines in the daughter’s bedroom and in the basement. This reveals that Valak has been haunting the Warrens since at least 1976.
- Lorraine later admits that she first met Valak in a vision during a life-changing event seven years earlier, meaning she first crossed paths with the demon in 1969—before the first Conjuring film takes place.
- After Ed Warren begins painting his portrait of The Nun, the name Valak begins to appear throughout their entire home, though the letters are often scrambled. We see a heart with the word “Love” above the letters ALAK; the letters V, A, L, and K appear in their daughter’s arts and crafts; the name Valak can be assembled in Boggle dice and formed from wooden block letters on the bookcase in the family room (where we can also see another small nun statue).
- During a vision, Lorraine scrawls the name Valak into her bible.
- When Janet Hodgson (played by Madison Wolfe) sees disembodied eyes at the end of a dark corridor, we hear church music, insinuating that she’s staring at The Nun.
- During the credits, slides of the Hodgson family are flashed on the screen. In one frame, you can see the demon Valak hovering over the old man who had haunted the family, proving The Nun was the true mastermind behind the terror characters endured throughout the film.
The next film in The Conjuring franchise came in the form of a second Annabelle spinoff; Annabelle: Creation (released in 2017) takes place in 1955. While the exact date of The Nun hasn’t been revealed in trailers or plot summaries available so far, it definitely takes place in the years following World War II; whether Annabelle: Creation takes place before or after the events of The Nun, we can at least assume with certainty that the two films take place within a reasonable amount of time from each other. And while connections to The Nun are extremely few, they’re extremely important.
In a key scene, Sister Charlotte (played by Stephanie Sigman) shares a picture of herself and some peers at a convent in Romania. Almost undetectable in the shadow is Valak, presiding over the entire group. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce this picture shows the setting of The Nun, creating an iron link between the two films and establishing Valak as a demon who can’t be contained to certain chapters of The Conjuring universe. She’s everywhere!
As someone who’s seen an advanced screening of The Nun, I can confirm that are additional, solid connections made to previous chapters of The Conjuring franchise. Of course, I’d be doing an extreme disservice by revealing them here and now. I can, however, state with confidence that these connections add volumes to The Conjuring franchise’s core mythologies, making it a vastly more terrifying universe than previously established.
In addition to CZsWorld’s video, you can check out the synopsis and trailer for The Nun, starring Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Jonas Bloquet, below.
When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
Do you agree that the demon nun Valak has been lurking around The Conjuring franchise since it was first launched? Are you excited to check out The Nun when it hits theaters on September 7th? Let us know what you think in the comments below (or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram)!