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The Conjuring 2's Valak Was Nearly An Entirely Different Entity

Since 2013, filmmaker James Wan has been scaring the living daylights out of moviegoers thanks to his demonic possession tale "The Conjuring." Based on the true-life case files of late ghost hunters and demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, "The Conjuring" introduced moviegoers to the legendary couple, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, as well as the demonically possessed humans, objects, and specters they would encounter.

The massive blockbuster success of "The Conjuring" — which earned more than $320 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo) — led, naturally, to the 2016 sequel "The Conjuring 2," as well as a series of spin-off movies. Starting with "Annabelle" in 2014, Wan's creation of interconnected stories led to a film series known as "The Conjuring" Universe, which also includes the 2018 blockbuster horror thriller "The Nun."

The Nun (Bonnie Aarons) herself was, of course, introduced in "The Conjuring 2," when the gruesome, habit-wearing character first came to Lorraine Warren in a frightening vision during a séance connected to the infamous Amityville murder house. The character later materializes as a demon named Valak while the Warrens are investigating a haunting in Enfield, England.

The image of the demonic nun has become almost synonymous with the franchise. In fact, it's hard to imagine "The Conjuring" Universe without Valak. However, Wan has just revealed that he had another entity in mind for the character before settling on the church-based figure.

Wan originally tested a winged-demon character to assume the role of Valak

In a detailed Instagram post, James Wan revealed that evil in "The Conjuring 2" was originally supposed to take the form of a winged demon crafted by his longtime makeup effects collaborator Justin Raleigh. In the post's accompanying video of the creature, Wan described the costume as a "beautifully/hideously sculpted animatronic puppet head and practical body-suit." 

Ultimately, however, Wan made a crucial creative decision that eliminated the winged demon from the movie, replacing it with the Nun instead. "I think I have only one fully finished shot with CGI wings in place. It was really grand and epic," Wan wrote in the post. "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." In addition, Wan lamented in a caption on the video that the winged creature was "The best demon I never used."

The Nun fully came to life via the talents of Bonnie Aarons when additional scenes were shot for the film, Wan noted. In addition, the iconic painting of Valak was created as one of the film's additional creepy set pieces.

Now, of course, Valak has become one of the scary faces of "The Conjuring" Universe, along with Annabelle and The Crooked Man, who also made his frightening debut in "The Conjuring 2." Valak is expected to return to haunt your dreams in September 2023 with "The Nun 2."