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 timeline 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.
The Nun (Dark Ages - 1952)
The events of the Conjuring Universe timeline 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.
Following a significant time jump after its own prequel, Annabelle centers around a young married couple in Santa Monica, CA in 1967. After John Form (played by Ward Horton) gifts his expectant wife Mia (played by Annabelle Wallis) with the porcelain Annabelle doll (unaware of its demonic roots), the couple is quickly thrust into a series of life-threatening events, beginning with the deaths of their neighbors, Pete and Sharon Higgins. It's revealed that Janice/Annabelle has joined a murderous cult, kills her adoptive parents, and breaks into the Form's home before finding the doll, slitting her own throat, and transferring the demon back into the doll.
The Forms are then haunted by the demon possessing Annabelle, which intends on taking over Mia's physical form and possessing her soul. However, after they successfully thwart the demon's goal, the doll disappears, only to mysteriously show up at an antique shop, where it's purchased by an older woman and gifted to someone yet again - this time to a nursing student named Debbie (played by Morganna Bridgers).
Annabelle Comes Home (1971)
After taking in Annabelle, the Warrens lock her away in their museum of haunted objects behind sacred glass. That's not without problems, however. One night, daughter Judy and babysitter Mary Ellen are targeted by the demon - and everything else in the museum - but things are eventually reverted back to normal.
The Conjuring (1971)
During The Conjuring's prologue, Ed and Lorraine Warren are introduced to Annabelle by the nursing student Debbie. They learn that a demon has possessed the doll, and ultimately add it to their museum of the occult in Connecticut for safekeeping.
Some time later, when the Warrens are assisting in an exorcism, Lorraine has a premonition of her husband's death (though she won't reveal this fact to Ed for a number of years), and has reservations about playing an active role in paranormal investigations. That is, until Roger and Carolyne Perron (played by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, respectively) convince them to investigate their home's demonic infestation.
After successfully exorcising the demon from their home, the Warrens are tasked with yet another case: a possible haunting in Amityville, New York.
The Curse of La Llorona (1973)
In 1673 Mexico, a mother drowns her family, creating La Llorona (Weeping Woman), a ghost who attempts to kill the children of those she haunts. This brings us to 1973 and the events of The Curse of La Llorona. Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) is a social caseworker who comes into contact with Patricia Alvarez, a woman haunted by La Llorona. The spirit is transferred and Anna's two children are targeted. She's eventually defeated with a cross made from wood of the tree near her first murder.
The Curse of La Llorona is only tangentially connected to the rest of the Conjuring Universe, with the main link being Tony Amendola's Father Perez, who is shown carrying Annabelle from her first movie in flashback.
The Conjuring 2 (1976-1977)
While investigating the infamous Amityville home of George and Kathy Lutz, Lorraine has yet another vision of Ed's death - this time accompanied by Valak the nun (though, at this point in time, Lorraine is unaware of its true identity). Meanwhile, a single mother named Peggy Hodgson (played by Frances O'Connor) and her four children are being haunted by an evil entity in Enfield, England, which eventually earns the attention of the Warrens.
In Enfield, Lorraine discovers that the spirit of a man named Bill Wilkins has been possessed by Valak, and is able to defeat the demon by simply saying its name. However, before it's vanquished back to Hell yet again, it may or may not have latched itself onto an old zoetrope belonging to the youngest of the Hodgson children (having already manifested itself as a character featured on the toy called The Crooked Man earlier in the film).
Not unlike a demonic possession or paranormal haunting, the Conjuring Universe is showing no signs of going away. A sequel and two spinoffs have already been greenlit, and there is even potential for a deeper exploration into the Warrens' unearthly lifestyle (aka more spinoffs). That said, the details regarding said sequel and spinoffs have yet to be revealed.
The Conjuring 3 - Details surrounding The Conjuring 3 are sparse at best. Wan (who may not return as director) has yet to reveal which famous investigation headed by the Warrens that the sequel will explore, though he did specify that it will not revolve around a haunted house.
The Crooked Man - The second spinoff from The Conjuring 2, The Crooked Man will be the first "dark fairytale" from the Conjuring Universe, according to Wan. No other details regarding plot have been revealed.
- The Nun (2018) release date: Sep 07, 2018
- Annabelle Comes Home (2019) release date: Jun 26, 2019