• Viewers should rewatch key Conjuring Universe movies before seeing The Nun 2 to fully understand the franchise’s overarching narrative.
  • The character Valak, the demon nun, makes their first appearance in The Conjuring 2 and receives an origin story in The Nun.
  • Valak is a powerful antagonist who manipulates other demons and poses a significant threat to the Warrens and other characters in the franchise.

Ahead of seeing The Nun 2, viewers should rewatch a few key Conjuring Universe movies in order to understand the full scope of the franchise’s overarching narrative. Before 2018’s The Nun hit theaters, the James Wan-directed The Conjuring became the first installment in the now-popular supernatural horror cinematic universe. The inaugural Conjuring Universe film introduces audiences to Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), a husband and wife team of paranormal investigators who were involved in a significant number of high-profile, real-life hauntings.

In addition to the Conjuring films, it also boasts several movies that center on the haunted doll Annabelle, the standalone The Curse of La Llorona, and, of course, The Nun films. Despite there being two entries in The Nun series, the titular abbess makes their debut appearance in 2016’s The Conjuring 2, another Wan-helmed film focusing on the characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the demon Valak’s go-to avatars, the character receives an origin story of sorts in 2018’s The Nun. Needless to say, there are several films in The Conjuring Universe that supply fragments of Valak’s narrative, making a rewatch of a handful of the franchise’s entries more crucial than ever.

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Valak in a vision in The Conjuring 2

Set in the mid-70s, The Conjuring 2 centers on Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate one of their most notorious incidents: the allegedly demon-caused murders at the Amityville house. While the duo performs a séance, Lorraine, who has a strong connection to the supernatural, finds herself pulled into a vision, which recounts the murders. In said vision, Lorraine sees a demonic nun figure, making Valak’s first Conjuring Universe appearance. To make matters worse, she also witnesses Ed’s death, making her fearful that the nun figure will one day lead to her husband’s end.

Meanwhile, in London, a young girl plays with a ouija board, leading to her demonic possession. While the ever-empathetic Warrens take on the case, Lorraine warns Ed about getting too involved as she fears the nun may be connected to the haunting. Soon enough, Lorraine encounters the demonic nun in her husband’s study — a precursor of what’s to come in the London-based case. That is, the nun is manipulating the demon that’s by possessing the young girl, eager to break her will and consume her. To make matters worse, the nun is powerful enough to thwart Lorraine’s precognitive abilities, making the demon the greatest threat the Warrens have ever faced.

During the film’s climax, Lorraine starts to see the pieces of her vision of Ed’s death come together. Knowing she must stop the nun figure, Lorraine searches her memory for anything helpful from her visions. Finally, she remembers that she scrawled the demon’s name in her bible while in a trance; in the Conjuring Universe, knowing a demon’s name gives one power over the being. After addressing the nun by the name Valak, Lorraine is able to condemn the creature to Hell, saving both the young girl and Ed. Undoubtedly, Valak is the breakout star of The Conjuring 2, which led the Conjuring movies and their spinoffs to feature the demon in more outings.

Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Valak picture in Annabelle Creation

A prequel to 2014’s Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation focuses on the titular doll’s origins. After grieving doll-maker Samuel Mullins loses his young child in a tragic accident, he creates Annabelle, the porcelain toy who later becomes a conduit for a powerful, ill-intentioned demon. Years later, the Mullins couple takes in Sister Charlotte and several of her young wards after their orphanage closes down. While Samuel tells the girls to avoid his late daughter’s room, that warning doesn’t stick, leading to the girls’ discovery of Annabelle and the terror-bent demon that calls her home.

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At one point, Sister Charlotte shows her hosts a photograph from her time at a Romania-based Abbey. Behind Sister Charlotte and her fellow nuns, Valak looms; the young abbess tells Samuel she can’t remember the sister’s name. Even though Valak’s on-screen appearance may be short-lived, the being is considered the overarching antagonist of Annabelle: Creation due to its abilities to master and guide other demons in their pursuits. The after-credits sequence of the film teases The Nun as it shows Valak haunting the halls of the Romanian monastery. Other than that, 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home briefly shows a glimpse of Valak as part of a tangential exorcism plot line.

The Nun (2018)

The Nun - Taissa Farmiga

A prequel to the rest of The Conjuring Universe films, The Nun appropriately delves into Valak’s backstory and features the return of The Nun actor Bonnie Aarons. The movie also explores the history of the Romanian monastery, which, ironically, was built by a duke who was obsessed with Satanism. At one point the occult-loving duke tried to summon a demon from Hell — a.k.a. Valak. Although the rift was sealed, World War II-era bombings freed Valak from the monastery’s catacombs, leading to the demon’s dominance over the abbey.

The Sisters pray around the clock to banish Valak, but the faith-mocking demon persists, eventually killing most of the nuns. Although the young Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) manages to douse Valak with the Blood of Christ and re-seal the rift to Hell, the demon nun isn’t fully defeated, leading to Valak’s appearances in other Conjuring Universe movies. In The Nun 2, the latest of the franchise’s entries, Valak haunts a French boarding school, eager to kill again.

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