The Conjuring was just a great standalone horror movie at first, but it has grown into a full-scale set of connected films. The latest chapter is The Nun, which explores the demonic character introduced in The Conjuring 2. The film, from director Corin Hardy, focuses on a novitiate (Taissa Farmiga) and a priest (Demián Bichir) who travel to the Cârta Monastery in Romania to investigate the mysterious suicide of a young nun. Once there, the pair come face-to-face with Valak, the horrifying nun seen in The Conjuring 2.
Each installment in the Conjuring franchise explores a different time period, and The Nun continues that tradition. This new story takes us back to the beginning of the franchise, as it delves into the origin of one of the series’s most popular (and scariest) villains. To get ready for The Nun, here’s our comprehensive guide to the timeline of the Conjuring universe.
(Note: Spoilers follow for all films in the series except for The Nun.)
The Nun (2018)
The Nun takes place in 1952. A novitiate nun, Irene, and a priest named Burke are sent to a Romanian abbey by the Vatican. Their job: investigate the mysterious suicide of a nun. Their mission is a dangerous one, however. They start unraveling dark secrets related to the monastery, and they soon find themselves being haunted by Valak, a powerful demon disguised as a nun. Together, Irene and Burke try to figure out how to defeat the unholy entity.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Annabelle: Creation is set in 1955, three years after The Nun. The movie focuses on six orphan girls and their caretaker, Sister Charlotte, as they move into the home of Samuel and Esther Mullins, a closed-off couple mourning the death of their daughter. Unbeknownst to Sister Charlotte and the girls, the house is haunted by Annabelle, a doll possessed by an entity which was unwittingly conjured by the Mullins couple while trying to communicate with their child.
Annabelle is found by Janice, one of the girls from the orphanage. The doll’s demon possesses her and escapes the Mullins house. Janice changes her name to Annabelle and makes her way to a new orphanage, where she’s adopted by the Higgins family. From a character standpoint, Annabelle: Creation largely stands alone from the Conjuring universe. The film is connected to The Nun, however, as Sister Charlotte mentions having lived in the Romanian abbey haunted by Valak.
Annabelle serves as both a sequel to Annabelle: Creation and a prequel to The Conjuring. The film takes place in 1967, and centers on Mia Form (Annabelle Wallis) and her husband, John, a couple awaiting the birth of their baby. One night, Mia is viciously attacked by Annabelle Higgins, now a member of a cult. The police intervene and Annabelle commits suicide while holding the Annabelle doll, which John had bought as a gift for his wife.
Wanting to forget their ordeal, Mia and John move to an apartment alongside their newborn baby, Leah. Annabelle follows them to their new home, however, and sets its sights on their daughter. The demon turns their lives upside down, but Mia and John are eventually saved by their friend, Evelyn (Alfre Woodard) who gives up her life in exchange for Leah’s. Six months later, Annabelle resurfaces in an antique store, where she’s purchased by a woman as a gift for her daughter, Debbie.
The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is the first installment in the franchise but the fourth chapter, chronologically. The film is set in 1971, and focuses on paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). They’re hired by the Perron family to look into the supposed haunting of the Perron home. The Warrens reluctantly agree to help, and soon discover the entity behind the hauntings: an ancient demonic witch called Bathsheba.
Ed and Lorraine determine the house needs an exorcism and begin gathering photographic evidence of the witch. Bathsheba becomes more violent as the investigation develops, however, which forces the Warrens to deal with her by themselves. While written as a standalone, The Conjuring ties directly into its chronological predecessor. During the film’s opening scene, Ed and Lorraine collect the Annabelle doll from Debbie, the woman mentioned during Annabelle‘s closing scene.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
The Conjuring 2 takes place in 1977, six years after The Conjuring. Ed and Lorraine travel to England to help Janet Hodgson and her family deal with an evil spirit haunting their home. The Warrens conduct an exhaustive investigation in the house, but are unable to find conclusive evidence about any supernatural activity.
Ed dismisses the case as a hoax, but Lorraine realizes that there is indeed an entity haunting the family: Valak, a blood-thirsty demonic presence disguised as a nun. The Warrens return to the Hodgson home and managed to banish the unholy entity back to Hell. With the Hodgons safe, the Warrens return home.
The Nun hits theaters on September 7, 2018.