After the Conjuring storyline added another film this summer (The Devil Made Me Do It), the question for horror fanatics remains: what comes next for the series? The franchise already includes three Annabelle films, three Conjuring films, The Nun (2018), and a spin-off called The Curse of La Llorona (2019). The plots for the respective demons are wrapped up at this point with no loose ends. Yet, fans demand to see more of our favorite ghost-busters, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). So, where do we go from here? There are a couple notable avenues that producers could explore.
Option #1: Side-stories
When in doubt, use what you already have. Annabelle Comes Home (2019) displays Ed and Lorraine Warren’s room full of demonic objects from past cases (for example, the toy monkey or haunted piano). It is hard to believe that none of these objects have an enticing backstory that would provide for a spin-off that connects back to the established films. These are also items Ed explicitly mentions in The Conjuring (2013) without providing much context, so there is room for development.
Moreover, the franchise has alluded to new demons and creatures in Annabelle Comes Home: The Ferryman (a demon that collects dead bodies), The Hellhound (a werewolf spirit), and The Bride (this one is self-explanatory—a killer bride). All of these ideas have set the franchise up for a decent side-plot for the Warrens’ adventures. There have been talks about a potential sequel to The Nun, whose setting would take place before the events of The Conjuring. Additionally, there are rumors of a film about The Crooked Man, an odd demonic spirit that appears in The Conjuring 2 (2016). Unfortunately, no concrete details about these production timelines have been released, so fans must speculate.
Option #2: A family business
It is always nice when one can keep the business in the family. So, why not play on that trend here? The beautiful thing about Annabelle Comes Home is that Ed and Lorraine’s daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace), becomes, in a sense, autonomous and learns to fight her own demonic battles. Since she has demonstrated her ability to hold her own, it would be interesting if the franchise chooses to give her a larger role in future films to show her progression in Ed and Lorraine’s field. Fans suspected that The Devil Made Me Do It would feature Judy more notably and were somewhat let down to see that she was not included. While giving Judy a more prominent role might be an interesting take, I would not let that become a staple of all future films, since fans primarily want to see Ed and Lorraine’s experiences.
Option #3: A fresh start
It is certainly plausible to conjure up a new demon with its own unique history and powers. The creation of The Conjuring 2 saw the introduction of Valak, a demon nun, whose storyline was completely unique from the haunting of Bathsheba Sherman in the first Conjuring film. Since the doll and nun options have already been explored, the franchise would have to think of different demonic forms. The vast majority of demons previously covered by the films all correspond to some version of a human entity. I propose some spirit that does not exactly have a biological form, which could provide added challenges for the Warrens to face.
Regardless of what producers decide, a new film should not be expected for at least a year or two. I believe it is most likely that the franchise will choose to follow through on a Nun sequel. Regardless of which avenue they pursue, film writers must remember that the storyline in this universe is largely complete. They have done a great job in terms of creating a substantial, well-connected universe with Easter eggs throughout the different films. There are no major loose ends to tie up as it concerns the two principal demons in this series: Valak and Annabelle. I highly caution the screenwriters to ensure that future films continue to add relevant substance. A Nun sequel or Crooked Man movie would accomplish such a task. I hope the franchise continues to deliver the content it has become famous for while fostering the viewer’s connection to the Warrens.