In the last five years, the Conjuring franchise has slowly grown into one of the industry's strongest cinematic universes. There are only four films so far -- The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, and Annabelle: Creation -- but already a strong continuity has been established. That will continue this weekend with the release of The Nun, and director Corin Hardy recently explained his relationship with the other canon stories in the making of the new movie:
I think it was quite fluid and natural and organic, because I already knew them all very well. So it wasn't like we had to kind of like try and figure stuff out. Gary [Dauberman]'s partnered with James [Wan] when he's writing the _Annabelle_s and stuff. It was all on the page, and then it was just certain details that we'd have to double check on, in terms of how they impact on other things, and we wanted to make sure we got everything just right. Hopefully it connects enough in certain ways, but we didn't want to kind of change things too much.
The Conjuring Universe has already done a good amount of timeline hopping, with Annabelle set before the two Conjuring movies, and Annabelle: Creation set before all of them, but one of the benefits of hiring Corin Hardy for The Nun was that he didn't have to do a deep dive into the previous titles because he was already a fan. It was also pretty helpful to have the assistance of both screenwriter Gary Dauberman and producer James Wan, given that the former has written three of the franchise films, and the latter has directed and/or produced all of them.
That being said, Corin Hardy didn't totally ignore the other Conjuring movies in the making of The Nun quite simply because he couldn't. The new film tells a story that takes place before all of the other titles in the franchise, and has certain threads that tie movies together. When I sat down with the director late last month for his movie's international press day in Mexico City, he noted that it was primarily in the sculpting of these dovetails that he went back to the other movies, making sure the sync worked properly.
Set in 1952, The Nun is the first movie set outside of America, transporting audiences to a monastery in Romania. When one of the nuns living there commits suicide, the Vatican sends a priest (Demian Bichir) and a postulant (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate. What they discover is that there is a very evil presence living in the religious residence, specifically a demon that audiences first encountered in The Conjuring 2.