From The Nun to real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, the timeline for the Conjuring Universe includes a mixture of authentic historical events, fabricated truths, and wholly original ideas. It's littered in sacrilege, séances, and the supernatural, and though most of the entries in this universe can work as standalone stories, they're all meticulously threaded together courtesy of demonic links that take the form of porcelain dolls, nuns, and even a vintage tin zoetrope.
Beginning with The Conjuring in 2013 from director James Wan (who has stuck around as executive producer on the franchise), the Conjuring Universe kicks off by exploring the lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a real-life couple from Monroe, Connecticut who dedicated their adult lives to investigating supernatural events. Their investigations in The Conjuring introduced a plethora of demonic characters, ultimately opening the door to an expanded cinematic universe, and resulting in one of the most successful horror movie franchises of all time. That said, its timeline isn't chronological.
So, given that the Conjuring Universe explores a vast multi-decade landscape - not to mention the fact that it's mostly crafted out of prequels and spinoffs - it'll help to have a more solid understanding of how exactly everything fits together.
- This Page: The Nun, Annabelle Creation, & The Warrens
- Page 2: Annabelle, The Conjuring Movies, & Future Entries
The Nun (Dark Ages - 1952)
The events of the Conjuring Universe stem all the way back to the Dark Ages in Romania at the Cârța Monastery, beginning with Valak the demonic nun. After a dark priest summons the demon from Hell (in mythology, Valak is referred to as "The Grand President of Hell"), the Roman Catholic Church steps in to reverse the deed. Utilizing the blood of Jesus Christ by way of the Holy Grail, they successfully damn Valak back to Hell, where it remains for centuries.
During World War II, however, the church is damaged by bombings, which ultimately awakens the demon, allowing it to haunt the grounds yet again. After Father Burke and Sister Irene (played by Demián Bichir and Taissa Farmiga, respectively) are summoned to investigate strange occurrences within the monastery following a nun's suicide in 1952, they come into contact with Valak (who itself has taken the form of a nun). It's eventually presumed defeated, but ultimately ends up playing a much larger role later in the franchise.
Annabelle: Creation (1943-1955)
A few years prior to the holy investigation in Romania, Samuel and Esther Mullins (played by Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otta, respectively) lose their daughter Bee (short for "Annabelle") after she's struck by a car. The grieving couple is then tricked by a demon into letting it use one of Bee's dolls, which was created by Samuel himself, as a conduit in which it can live. However, after the possessed doll becomes violent, they lock it away.
Twelve years later, Mr. and Mrs. Mullins open their home up to a group of orphan girls and their caretaker, Sister Charlotte (played by Stephanie Sigman), who had spent some time at the Cârța Monastery. She has a photo of herself with some of the monastery's nuns - including Valak, though Sister Charlotte is not aware of her/its identity.
During their time with the Mullins, the doll tricks one of the girls, Janice (played by Talitha Bateman), into releasing it - after which time the doll ultimately possesses her. After a series of murders, Janice escapes, takes on the identity of Annabelle, and is adopted by Pete and Sharon Higgins in Southern California.
The Warrens (1952 - present)
In the same year that Father Burke and Sister Irene are summoned by the Vatican, Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively, in the Conjuring films) officially establish the New England Society for Psychic Research. A demonologist and trance medium, respectively, the couple met when they were teenagers, and, after marrying, spent roughly 50 years investigating paranormal incidences - most famously at the home of George and Kathy Lutz in Amityville, New York and the home of Peggy Hodgson in Enfield, England (which are both featured in The Conjuring 2).
At their home in Monroe, Connecticut, the couple erect a museum for the occult, which features artifacts from their cases, including the possessed Raggedy Ann doll known as Annabelle, psychic photography, and Satanic alters. And, after Ed passed away in 2006 at the age of 79, Lorraine retired from active investigations, continuing her work in paranormal investigations in more of consultant role.
- The Nun (2018) release date: Sep 07, 2018
- Annabelle 3 (2019) release date: Jul 03, 2019