The DC Extended Universe currently encompasses seven movies, but what it could be even bigger than anyone realized. Based on existing connections between the DCEU and the world of The Conjuring, It's possible that the two actually share the same universe. Like the DC movies, all of the films in The Conjuring Universe are distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The DCEU and The Conjuring Universe took off at roughly the same time, with Man of Steel and The Conjuring both being released in 2013. Directed by James Wan, The Conjuring was inspired by the true story of paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) looking into a haunting. The movie led to a spinoff, Annabelle, which spawned a trilogy of its own. More horror films set in The Conjuring Universe have followed, including The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona. New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have reached a point where they're able to release at least one installment in the franchise every year.
After just five Conjuring movies, it became apparent that The Conjuring Universe was already more successful than the DCEU. Box office figures for the Conjuring movies haven't been as large as DC films, but Conjuring movies are making a great deal of money on smaller budgets, whereas some DC movies, like Justice League, were major box office disappointments. While recent installments in the DCEU have fared well both critically and commercially, they haven't been as consistent as The Conjuring movies. Every movie in The Conjuring Universe has received its fair share of good reviews and success at the box office. All things considered, why wouldn't DC Entertainment want to share their world with The Conjuring Universe?
Annabelle Has Been In The Past Two DCEU Films
In 2018's Aquaman, Arthur (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) swim down into the ocean to find Mera's aquatic vehicle so that they can reach Atlantis. Amidst the underwater trash where they search for the vehicle is a familiar face: the Annabelle doll. The demonically possessed doll and antagonist of the Annabelle trilogy somehow ended up on the bottom of the ocean, which seems like a fitting place to put it for someone itching to be rid of it. The doll made a second DCEU appearance in Shazam! towards the beginning of the film. When Billy Batson (Asher Angel) cons the police into entering a pawn shop so that he can use the radio in their car, Annabelle can be spotted on a shelf.
The explanation for how and why Annabelle is in two DCEU movies is rather simple, and it all boils down to the directors. Aquaman is directed by James Wan, the architect of The Conjuring Universe, and the person responsible for turning Annabelle into a horror icon. Shazam!, meanwhile, was directed by David F. Sandberg, who helmed Annabelle: Creation in 2017.
Shazam! Brings Horror & Magic To The DCEU
On the surface, The Conjuring Universe and the DCEU don't have much in common, aside from sharing James Wan and David. F. Sanberg as directors. One franchise deals only with horror, while the other is based on a comic book world full of superheroes. What makes them even more different is that many of the Conjuring movies are based on supposedly true stories, so in the case of a film that deals with real-life events, there isn't much room for colorful superheroes like Superman flying around and saving the world.
The gap between the DCEU and The Conjuring Universe closed a bit with Shazam! Sandberg, influenced by his love for making scary movies, infused Shazam! with elements of horror and a deep dive into the world of magic. Sandberg reimagined the comic book villains known as the Seven Deadly Sins as terrifying monsters. Sandberg's directing style allowed for a few jump scares, which brought the tone closer to what one might expect from a horror movie, and its use of various monsters was similar to James Wan's approach to The Conjuring 2. For a fun superhero movie that relied greatly on comedy, Shazam!'s embrace of the horror genre was unexpected.
Can The DCEU & Conjuring Exist In The Same Universe?
What may be the biggest obstacle to the DCEU and The Conjuring movies existing in the same universe is the actors. Patrick Wilson is one of the two most important characters in The Conjuring Universe, having played Ed Warren in both Conjuring movies, Annabelle: Comes Home, and the upcoming The Conjuring 3 in 2020. The issue here is that Wilson also portrayed the villain of Aquaman, Ocean Master. And then there's the matter of actress Grace Fulton, who played significant roles in both Annabelle: Creation and Shazam! While this would be problematic if the two universes were one and the same, these wouldn't be the first examples of an actor playing two unrelated roles in a cinematic universe.
As far as continuity goes, there are much less contradictions with the two universes, and that's largely due to the fact that none of the movies take place in the modern era, which is the setting of every DCEU movie, with the sole exception of Wonder Woman. There's no reason why anything that happened in a DCEU movie should have been mentioned in any Conjuring film, and vice versa, since Conjuring movies usually focus on contained events that don't have much impact on people outside the story.
More DC Horror Is On The Way
New Line Cinema, the production company behind The Conjuring Universe, co-produced Shazam! and could continue their relationship with DC Films with more movies. If so, that could lead to the hiring of more directors from the Conjuring films. Regardless, the DCEU is far from done with the horror genre. It's most significant foray into the genre hasn't even been made yet. It was reported in February that Warner Bros. is developing an Aquaman spinoff, titled The Trench, which will involve a "horror-tinged" script. James Wan is expected to produce the film. Also, if Wan returns to direct Aquaman 2, fans can expect the director to once again lean into his horror roots. With everything that's coming to the DCEU, there may not be a better time for DC to embrace its connection to The Conjuring Universe.