For some time it has been suspected that director James Wan would not be returning to helm The Conjuring 3. James Wan directed the first two films in the series and is the architect of the growing and successful Conjuring Universe, but his name is increasingly in demand for bigger and bigger projects like the upcoming DCEU flick Aquaman. Even without James Wan behind the camera, the main series in this universe will continue. We heard a few weeks back that The Conjuring 3 had a script, and now it also has a director. Michael Chaves is coming aboard and taking the baton from James Wan to helm The Conjuring 3.

You probably haven't heard Michael Chaves' name before and that's okay; his first film isn't even out yet. Michael Chaves recently made his feature directorial debut with The Curse of La Llorona, which doesn't release in theaters until April 19, 2019. That horror film stars Linda Cardellini in a film about a social worker who ignores the warning of a troubled mother and finds her family soon drawn into a supernatural realm. Although he is stepping away from directing duties, James Wan remains the architect of this universe and according to Deadline, he will produce Michael Chaves' The Conjuring 3 under his Atomic Monster label. We still don't know what case paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren will be taking on The Conjuring 3, but David Leslie Johnson, who co-wrote The Conjuring 2, will handle the script.

It is hard to evaluate Michael Chaves as a replacement for James Wan on The Conjuring 3 given that we have yet to see his feature directorial debut, but his horror short The Maiden did win Best Super Short Film at Shriekfest in 2016. It will also be exciting to see what a new director can bring to this franchise. Like The Conjuring films, Michael Chaves' The Curse of La Llorona is a New Line production. So clearly the studio already knows what they are getting with the director, and likes what it sees from that debut -- enough to give Michael Chaves the keys to The Conjuring 3, the third film in the mainline series in a billion-dollar franchise. That bodes quite well for The Curse of La Lloronoa and horror fans should probably have that movie on their radar next year.

The Conjuring 3 is aiming to begin production in 2019, which means we could see it arrive in theaters in 2020. Before that though the next film in The Conjuring universe is Annabelle 3, which is scheduled to hit theaters on July 3, 2019. For all of the biggest movies to look forward to in a positively jam packed 2019, check out next year's release schedule.

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