Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Nun
Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun is the latest spinoff in the Conjuring Universe, and stars Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene, a nun who is recruited to investigate a mysterious death at a remote convent in Romania. Perhaps the biggest mystery of the movie, however, is the connection - or apparent lack thereof - between Sister Irene and Lorraine Warren, who is played by Vera Farmiga.
The Nun and The Conjuring are set about 20 years apart, and there's a 21-year age gap between the two actresses, who bear a strong family resemblance. The Nun is bookended with scenes of Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, with the end of the movie cutting straight from Irene in 1952 to Lorraine in 1971 - only serving to highlight how similar the two lead actresses look. However, the only explicit connection between the two characters in the movie is the fact that they both fight the demon Valak, and they both encounter Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), a French-Canadian farmer who is possessed by Valak at the end of The Nun.
Related: The Nun Review
If Sister Irene and Lorraine Warren really are completely unrelated, it seems like a bizarre decision to cast Taissa Farmiga in The Nun and then specifically draw attention to her resemblance to Vera Farmiga. The 20-year time difference/age gap also seems like a major coincidence, and both Irene and Lorraine are afflicted with visions that connect them to the spiritual world. Of course, there's one way in which all of these coincidences would make sense: if Irene and Lorraine were actually the same person.
- This Page: Is Sister Irene A Young Lorraine Warren?
- Page 2: Are Irene and Lorraine Sisters?
Is Sister Irene A Young Lorraine Warren?
Those who jumped straight into The Nun without having seen any of the other Conjuring movies could be forgiven for assuming that Lorraine Warren is Sister Irene a couple of decades later, given the strong likeness between the two actresses. Even beyond that, however, there are plenty of parallels. Both Irene and Lorraine talk about experiencing religious visions from an early age (Irene being told that "Mary points the way," and Lorraine recalling in The Conjuring 2 that as a child she saw an angel by a little boy's bedside in the hospital). Both Irene and Lorraine are American, and must have been born at around the same time. Both characters are devoutly Christian, and both have tangled with Valak.
That last detail is a bit of a sticking point, because in The Conjuring 2 Lorraine makes no reference to Irene's experiences at the Abbey of St. Carta in Romania. She has a vision of the demonic nun at the start of the film, and is later disturbed to find that her husband, Ed, has painted a picture of it. However, in neither instance does she mention having fought the demon before, and she doesn't remember the demon's name despite Father Burke (Demián Bichir) discovering it in The Nun. That said, when Lorraine realizes that she wrote the demon's name in her Bible and flips through the pages to learn it, she immediately recognizes the name "Valak." Moreover, when she uses it to expel the demon, she seems to know an awful lot about it:
"Your name gives me dominion over you, demon. And I do know your name. You are Valak, the defiler, the profane, the Marquis of Snakes."
This lends some weight to the theory that Lorraine is actually an older Irene (and perhaps simply forgot the demon nun's appearance), but there's also another explanation for Lorraine's familiarity with Valak. At the end of The Nun we learn that Ed and Lorraine Warren were present at Frenchie's exorcism, and knew that he had become possessed 20 years earlier. Since Father Burke survived the encounter, he presumably would have delivered a full report to the Vatican, including the name of the demon - so the Warrens could have learned about Valak that way.
There is, of course, another major flaw in the theory that Irene and Lorraine are the same person. For much of the movie, Sister Irene is still a novitiate, and hasn't yet taken the vows to become a nun. However, she decides to take her vows before the final battle with Valak, her faith having been hardened by encountering clear evidence of the existence of Hell. When we meet Lorraine in The Conjuring, she is already married to Ed Warren and has a daughter, which pretty clearly contradicts Irene becoming a Bride of Christ - especially since (in real life) Ed and Lorraine founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952, the same year that The Nun is set in. So, did Irene really renounce her vows so soon after taking them, or could there be a different connection between the two characters?