As the first horror cinematic universe, The Conjuring franchise is bound together by two key characters: Ed and Lorraine Warren, based off the same-named, real-life paranormal investigators. The main Conjuring movies have focused on two of the couple's famous cases, while the Conjuring spinoffs have delved deeper into the backgrounds of the some of the entities they've faced. Up to this point, the Warrens themselves haven't appeared in any of these spinoffs, but that's finally going to change with the upcoming Annabelle 3.
This past summer at San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Annabelle 3 would see the eponymous doll ending up in Ed and Lorraine's hands and not just terrorizing their daughter, Judy, but also having an effect on the house's other cursed objects. At the time, it was implied that this would mean the Warrens would appear, and Deadline has now confirmed that Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson will reprise their respective characters.
This will mark Ed and Lorraine Warren's third appearance in the Conjuring franchise, as The Conjuring 3 isn't arriving until September 2020, a year after Annabelle 3. However, rather than being the main characters like in their earlier appearances, the Warrens will be supporting characters in Annabelle 3, as this their daughter's time to shine.
The Annabelle doll was introduced at the beginning of The Conjuring (set in 1971), where we learned that the Raggedy Ann doll was possessed by the spirit of a girl named Annabelle Higgins. The first Annabelle spinoff, simply titled Annabelle, wound the clock back to 1967 and showed the doll targeting John and Mia Form, the next door neighbors of Annabelle Higgins' parents, who are swiftly killed by their daughter and her boyfriend at the beginning of the movie. Annabelle: Creation then jumped back even further to 1955 and depicted the doll and Annabelle Higgins' origins.
With the Annabelle doll's past thoroughly covered the first two spinoffs, it makes sense for Annabelle 3 to reestablish ties with the Warrens. That said, Annabelle 3 will still be somewhat of a prequel, because it's set after the beginning of The Conjuring, but before The Conjuring 2. So Ed and Lorraine Warren will be just fine, as will Judy, played by Mckenna Grace. However, Judy will be joined by her cousin and teenaged babysitter (played by Madison Iseman), so their fates are still up in the air.
Directed and written by Gary Dauberman, Annabelle 3 will scare its way into theaters on July 3, 2019. The latest Conjuring Universe installment, The Nun, came out last month, and a spinoff centered on The Crooked Man is also in the works. Make sure to also see what the next 12 months and beyond have in store theatrically by looking through our 2018 and 2019 release schedules.