If there’s one thing The Conjuring’s ever-expanding horror-verse knows how to do (besides scaring everybody silly), it’s introducing creepy new antagonists that spin off into their own standalone films.
Annabelle (2014) and The Nun (2018) both terrorized fans with spinoff movies after originally being part of the story in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. But Ed and Lorraine Warren’s ongoing big-screen battle with evil in the newest film — The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It — breaks with that tradition by telling a self-contained horror tale, without including a similarly supernatural baddie destined for its own future date with theaters.
As it turns out, though, that wasn’t the original plan. Speaking recently with /Film, The Devil Made Me Do It director Michael Chaves said the movie cut out a scene that would’ve introduced an “iconic” new demon to the series, and that footage setting up the demon’s dreadful debut was actually shot…before eventually being left aside so that the story could stay focused on the movie’s human antagonist.
“We actually did have what we thought was going to be the new [spin-off] demon, and this is something that was true to the story,” said Chaves. “We had a demon that was full-on pulled from little David’s interview and description. Arnie said he saw the same thing. And it felt like this was going to be the iconic demon.”
A new Conjuring baddie with its own lore-appropriate backstory: It sounds like a devil of a setup; one that’s almost too enticing to leave lying unused, at the end of the day, in the editing room. So why didn’t the demon make the final cut? Because, said Chaves, it would’ve ended up throwing a wrench into The Devil Made Me Do It’s plot.
“We’re introducing a human adversary, which was the first time that’s ever happened in the Conjuring Universe. So all of a sudden, [the] relationship [between the Occultist and the demon] seemed a little hinky,” he explained, adding that producer James Wan and other directors had faced the same conundrum while making The Conjuring 2.
“The Nun was actually totally created in reshoots. The Nun didn’t exist before. There was another demon in [The Conjuring 2] that the Nun replaced. And so we were in a similar situation where we had this story, [and] it was getting a little too complicated. The demon just wasn’t quite connecting.”
Even if fans don’t get to see the demon on screen in The Devil Made Me Do It, its possessive power still stalks the overarching story. Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) dive into a deep pit of darkness when they try to retrace an infamous murder; one based on the real-life case of a suspect who cited demonic possession as the basis for his alleged crime.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It toppled A Quiet Place Part II from the top of the resurgent box office charts when it debuted last weekend, and you can catch it now — safe from any sign of demon sightings — in theaters everywhere, as well as HBO Max.