Saw and Insidious 1 & 2 filmmaker James Wan took a break from working within the horror genre, when he agreed to direct this year's Fast and the Furious movie series installment, Furious 7. However, he's since returned to the world of the creepy and/or supernatural in order to make The Conjuring 2 (the sequel to Wan's critically and commercially successful 2013 hit) - and rumor has it, a DC comic book film adaptation could lie in Wan's future thereafter.
The DC rumor stems from a previous quote from New Line COO and president Toby Emmerich - who said Wan "will make an important movie for New Line and Warner Bros. or DC," as part of his deal with New Line for him to helm Conjuring 2. Emmerich certainly left some room for interpretation with that loaded comment; the same could be said for Wan's comments in a recent interview, where he talked about his current workload and future plans alike.
Wan indicated he was done with making horror films shortly after The Conjuring released in theaters. It's not surprising that he needed to take a break from the horror genre at the time - having released The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2 within the span of a few months, back in 2013. The filmmaker broke-out by directing the first Saw installment (he only produced the sequels), so his roots lie very much in horror - something that made it doubtful that he would never return to that area of storytelling again, down the line.
Furious 7 proved to be an even greater challenge than expected, after Paul Walker's death in late 2013. It does make sense that a trip back to the Conjuring universe would almost feel like a "holiday" for Wan by comparison. That's how he described it, anyway, during an interview that he did with Collider (as part of the Furious 7 promotional tour):
“I’ve been working very heavily on the script, and the idea of continuing the saga of Ed and Lorraine Warren [played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga] is actually very exciting. So the idea of going back to kind of nurture my baby that I created is part of the reason why I’m going back to do The Conjuring 2. And in some ways it’ll be like a holiday break for me after this film [re: 'Furious 7'].”
Horror film fans may disagree on whether Wan's horror work tends to be scary or relies too much on cheap trickery, but as a general rule his movies are solid works of storytelling - that is, unlike many horror features, they tend to be truly narrative-driven. Case in point, the one sequel that Wan's directed to date, Insidious: Chapter 2, very much expands upon the plot of its predecessor - something that bodes well for Wan's work on Conjuring 2, be the film about witches in 1970s England (as was once rumored) or something else altogether.
That's also encouraging for Wan's "next big film," which he says he's already hoping to begin setting up while he fine-tunes the Conjuring 2 script. He acknowledged that New Line and WB would like to keep him in the fold - having said "it's almost like they're very old school in that respect" - and had the following to offer Collider, when asked if he'd be interested in adapting a specific DC comic for the big screen:
“Yeah, there are some that I like… I am open to all possibilities at this point.”
There were a number of comic book movie fans who touted Wan as being a good pick to direct something like Marvel Studios' upcoming Doctor Strange, before Scott Derrickson (another fellow experienced in the art of supernatural horror moviemaking) got the job instead. Furious 7 is picking up largely positive reviews, though - proof enough that Wan shouldn't be pigeon-holed as a match for only the developing comic book adaptations that are heavy on the dark supernatural elements.
It could be interesting to see what Wan might do with something like Jason Momoa's Aquaman film; or, something more steeped in cosmic sci-fi, like the Green Lantern reboot. Similarly, Wan's past work make him an intriguing pick to adapt a DC property based in dark fantasy - such as the Justice League Dark film that already has a finished script by Guillermo del Toro. There's no reason that Wan has to work on a DC movie for WB/New Line, but it's still a possibly that's fun to contemplate.
So, on that note: is there a comic book you would like to see Wan adapt for the big screen? Or would you prefer that his "next big film" be something else altogether?
Furious 7 opens in U.S. theaters next month on April 3rd, followed by The Conjuring 2 on June 10th, 2016.