The Conjuring 2 proved to be a worthy successor to its predecessor and spawned one of the franchise’s most iconic horror villains in the demon known as Valak. The character terrified audiences in the film and went on to get a movie of its own with the release of 2018’s The Nun. Even with less than favorable reviews, The Nun scared up an impressive $365 million at the worldwide box office, making it the highest-grossing film of the franchise. The success of the film has allowed Valak to return once again in The Nun 2 which has been confirmed for release in 2023.
Given the success of the character, it’s hard to believe that it almost never made it into The Conjuring 2. As noted by the film’s director, and creator of The Conjuring Universe, James Wan, Valak’s Nun design was a late replacement for the original idea which saw the demon take up a very different look.
Wan took to Instagram to share footage of the original design which he describes as “The best demon I never used.” He also added:
“The original VALAK in The Conjuring 2 was going to be this winged demon. A beautifully/hideously sculpted animatronic puppet head and practical body-suit by the super talented @justin.raleigh (whom I’ve worked with on pretty much all my movies since Insidious 1) and his team @fracturedfxinc worn by @j_bishara.
I think I have only one fully finished shot with CGI wings in place. It was really grand and epic. But as cool as it was, it felt out of place within the Conjuring world we had built. And so during post-production, I reconceived the villain — feeling it needed to be something more grounded, more personal, and creepier. And thus the demonic Nun was born.
We cast the amazing @bonnieaarons1 for the role, and all the nun stuff was shot during additional photography, including coming up with new scare set-pieces like the “painting on the wall”, and used visual effects to put the new villain into existing scenes.”
Check out the footage below.