2013’s The Conjuring came out of nowhere and ended up being one of the best horror films in years, forever making people jump at the sound of hands clapping. The success of this film shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise though. After all, the film was directed by James Wan: The man responsible for Saw (the good one), Dead Silence, and Insidious. The man obviously knows his horror.
The Conjuring led way to an excellent sequel, and has spawned its own connected universe. First up was 2014’s Annabelle, based on the intensely creepy doll from The Conjuring. Sequel Annabelle: Creation is in theaters now, and doing quite well critically [read our review here]. Up next is The Nun from the Conjuring 2, followed by a visit from the (I swear it was claymation, but it actually was a real guy) Crooked Man.
Was a “Shared Universe” always in the cards for the Aquaman director? Apparently so, albeit in slightly different form. The Hollywood Reporter recently say down with James Wan, and Annabelle: Creation director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Shazam). During the interview, Wan revealed his initial plans for the Warren cases: “Very early on, I wanted to call the Conjuring films The Warren Files, and so that was going to be a more encompassing sort of umbrella name for this whole world. We didn’t end up going with that title, obviously, but I guess that spirit has always sort of lingered around.”
He also revealed that he likes to view his role in this burgeoning shared universe as a TV show runner. His way of managing the over-arching narrative, and plan ahead. “If you start approaching it that way, you kinda see where the films can sort of fan out, where the storylines can fan out and become other stuff”, said the director.
James Wan also made clear that he wants the movies to share a similar style in order to develop a sense of cohesiveness. Something he began with The Conjuring: “That is the aesthetic that I feel like I’ve set up…and I really want to keep that classical sort of old-school storytelling going on with all these films. Those are the kind of horror movies that I really love, and so I want to make sure that all these films within the Conjuring world feel like they came from the same place. I don’t want them feeling too disjointed from a visual standpoint.
Sandberg had this to say about working under Wan’s expanding umbrella of horror films: “The only sort of mandate…was to put in these little references to the other movies. But otherwise, it was very free.”
Meanwhile, Wan seemingly ruled out the possibility of him taking on directing duties on The Conjuring 3, stating that: “I just don’t think it’s realistic with my schedule. I’m going to be on Aquaman for a year-and-a-half. I just don’t see that as a reality.”
So far so good! This could very well be the shared universe the horror genre deserves. Annabelle: Creation is in theaters now, while The Nun is set for a July 18th, 2018 release.
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