Where Does The Conjuring 3 Fit Into The Conjuring Universe?

The Conjuring universe may not be as old as the MCU, but it's getting just as complicated

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They may not be superheroes in the literal sense, but Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga's take on Ed and Lorraine Warren might be the horror genre's next best thing. And with eight movies, including this year's The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, their shared universe is turning into a web of continuity and overlapping timelines where we meet different characters (some human, some very much not human) at different points in their lives across different movies.

Thankfully, The Conjuring movies proper are pretty linear in and of themselves. They're a bit like the Avengers titles, if we're going to keep the superhero simile going, and they unfold in a way that can be understood totally independent of the other spin-off movies.

The Devil Made Me Do It is the third Conjuring film, and takes place--surprise!--after the second Conjuring film. The timeline for these movies looks something like this.

  • The Conjuring (1971)
  • The Conjuring 2 (1977)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (1981)

The dates here are concrete thanks to the fact that the main line Conjuring films are all "based on true stories," in that they're direct references to cases that the real Ed and Lorraine Warren wrote about while they were active. Of course, like any horror movie inspired by real events the "true" part is loose at best and afforded the franchise to embellish not only the events themselves but to add whole new characters and monsters to the mix. That's when things begin to get a little bit tricky.

Factoring in the Conjuring spin-offs, you get something that looks more like this:

  • The Nun (1952)
  • Annabelle: Creation (~1952, with flashbacks to 1943 and flashforwards to 1967)
  • Annabelle (1967)
  • The Conjuring (1971)
  • Annabelle Comes Home (somewhere between ~1969-1970)
  • The Curse of La Llorona (1973)
  • The Conjuring 2 (1977)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (1981)

Of this list, the Annabelle branch is probably the most chronologically tricky, featuring multiple flashbacks and flashforwards--and the fact that Annabelle proper is a prequel to The Conjuring while Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to Annabelle doesn't particularly help either. Meanwhile, Annabelle Comes Home's only direct timestamps are the age of the Warren's daughter, Judy, and the references to the events of the first Conjuring and Annabelle movies.

Meanwhile, The Nun's solo film is directly connected to The Conjuring 2 and also includes a retcon/Easter egg to one of the earlier scenes of The Conjuring.

The Curse of La Llorona briefly nods to Annabelle as a character that exists out in the shared universe, but is otherwise disconnected.

If you're just looking for a spooky movie to enjoy and don't want to worry about the demon-filled continuity web, that's more than okay. The Devil Made Me Do It makes some loose references (mostly in the form of Easter eggs and set dressing) to the other films, but otherwise stands entirely on its own.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It hits theaters and HBO Max on June 4.

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