The upcoming horror film Annabelle has many ties back to James Wan’s 2013 movie The Conjuring - as any prequel/spin-off would – but one link it doesn’t have is appearances from the originals’ stars. While the characters do have very important ties to the titular doll, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorainne Warren, who were played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in last year’s horror film, don’t actually make an appearance in Annabelle. But that wasn’t necessarily always going to be the case.
This past weekend, I had the chance to sit down with Annabelle director John Leonetti and producer James Wan, and personally wondering about Farmiga and Wilson’s absence, I took the opportunity to ask if there was ever a discussion behind the scenes about having them make a cameo appearance. As it turns out, there were conversations about it, but it was ultimately decided that the schedules just wouldn’t work out, so the idea was left behind. Said Leonetti,
"Honestly, yes, we would have loved for them to join the party, if you will, but I just don’t think it was viable with their schedule and ours, so we just did it the way we did it."
While Ed and Lorainne Warren don’t actually appear on screen in Annabelle, their finger prints are still all over it. To this day, the Annabelle doll (which in real life is actually a rather normal Raggedy Anne) remains as the most notable piece in the Warrens’ collection of demonically touched items. The new film even opens with a call back to the Annabelle sequence in The Conjuring where the Warrens are interviewing a pair of nurses who have felt the toy’s evilness (though the "Warrens" never actually appear on screen).
I didn’t have the opportunity to ask Leonetti and Wan about it during our short interview, but I remain curious as to what the cinematic future holds for Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and the series. The Conjuring wound up making nearly $320 million worldwide when it was done with its box office run, and while Annabelle certainly represents an expansion of the franchise, I wonder if we’ll ever get a more direct sequel with the Warrens looking into another one of their most famous cases. It could possibly hinge on the success of Leonetti’s movie this weekend.
To hear director John Leonetti’s full answer to my question, watch the video below!