How The Ending Connects To The Original Annabelle
The original Annabelle, a spinoff from The Conjuring that explains how its breakout "star" ended up in paranormal investigators the Warren's collection of haunted objects, for the most part follows new mother Mia, who is pursued by the haunted doll that wants to possess her newborn baby (set in a plush apartment, the film is a blatant riff on Rosemary's Baby). This was the last time the doll surfaced before the family who reported it to the Warrens.
That movie opens just as Creation ends, on the day Annabelle kills the Higgins'; Mia is given the doll by husband John, then later that night are woken up by their neighbors being attacked by two assailants. The man is shot by police but the woman - Annabelle Higgins - takes the doll and slits her throat, with a drop of her blood going in her eye socket. It's later revealed the pair were "Disciples of the Ram", a cult focused on resurrecting the spirit through ritualistic sacrifice. It's implied the opening murders brought the Ram to Annabelle, leading to its later attempts to possess Mia's daughter.
Creation thus ties its mostly self-contained story into the wider mythology with its final scene. Fans will have noticed the Higgins name and how Janice grew into the actress who played the previous Annabelle, but the real kicker comes with the reveal of Mia (played by the aptly-named Annabelle Wallis, the star of the original film). Like most prequels, it's a tight connection to the original.
Of course, the prequel reframes what we saw in 2014 somewhat. We now know that Annabelle Higgins is really a possessed Janice, meaning that rather than simply trying to resurrect the Ram, she and her accomplice were attempting something else; likely to transfer its soul into another vessel, first using the doll as a conduit. Why isn't elaborated but it's likely an age-related issue given how the spirit's later conquests involve children, whose souls are either more pure or easier to overcome.
What Does This Connection Mean?
What this does do is raise the question of the doll's return. At the end of the 1957-set portion of Creation, it's implied the doll is now free of all harmful forces, yet it somehow gets re-embroiled in the Ram's story twelve years later when it magically reappears and Annabelle re-possesses it. It's a massive coincidence for the Ram-powered Janice and the formerly-possessed doll to wind up in the same neighborhood: how did that happen and if it is just a vessel why is it still important? It may be a simple retcon; several elements of the original film, such as the ghost of 7-year-old Annabelle attacked Mia, are altered by the twist, so there's an element of free-and-lose canon here. However, the mid-credits scene may provide a deeper explanation.
First, though, it is worth pointing out there are some other connections between Annabelle: Creation and the wider Conjuring mythology: the Ram takes control of Janice by vomiting a viscous, black goo into her mouth, just like how the mother in The Conjuring was possessed by that film's demon; and the deception of welcoming a spirit into a vessel only to find it a dark force has been a repeated trick by the universe's ghouls.
There's also an incredibly cool easter egg in the final moments for real life haunting buffs; the doll handed to Janice/Annabelle when she first meets the Higgins is a replica of the real-life Annabelle doll, an acknowledgement of how this all started from a "true" story and highlighting how the Conjuring mythology has evolved since then. And, on that note, it's time to look at the expansions provided by the two post-credits scenes.
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