Why James Wan Feels It's 'Bittersweet' Not Directing Conjuring 3

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring 2

There is a lot of anticipation among Conjuring Universe fans for the arrival of the upcoming The Conjuring 3 a.k.a. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, it is noteworthy that the film has one key difference from its predecessors. While the first two movies in the series were directed by James Wan, this time around he has passed the reins on to Michael Chaves (who has past Conjuring Universe experience having made The Curse Of La Llorona).

Doing so has allowed Wan to make the upcoming giallo film Malignant as well as continue development on Aquaman 2, but he has admitted that there is a part of him that wishes he directed the third Conjuring movie.

In a recent video released by Warner Bros. promoting the development of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (just in time for Halloween), James Wan discusses the decision to not direct the sequel himself, and in essence adds that it wasn't the easiest choice to make. Said the director,

Working with Michael Chaves on La Llorona, I saw a filmmaker that really gets these kinds of films. It's bittersweet for me to pass the baton on, but it's good to get a fresh take on where we can take the Conjuring Universe.

Over the course of his career, James Wan has had a tremendous amount of fortune when it comes to making series-launching films, including Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring – but it's key to note that while those three franchises have produced a total of 19 features to date, Wan has only personally directed five of them (Saw, Insidious, Insidious Chapter 2, The Conjuring, and The Conjuring 2). He's clearly talented when it comes to building worlds, but his position on sequels is pretty clear when you consider that he's never personally made a full trilogy.

I had the chance to speak with James Wan about this particular aspect of his career last year during the press day for The Conjuring Universe's Annabelle Comes Home (which he produced), and you can watch the discussion by clicking play on the video below!

Deviating from the haunted house format that served as the base concept for the first two Conjuring movies, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It will be more of a courtroom drama that examines the real case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson – which is the first known case in American history that saw the defendant claim innocence because at the time a crime was committed they were demonically possessed. Like the other films in the series, it's expected that the real events will prove to only be a loose basis for the plot and that the situations will be heightened and more horrific.

While we wait for the release of The Conjuring 3, do yourself a favor and check out this extended featurette for the franchise, which provides a cool behind-the-scenes look at the development of all the movies we've seen in the franchise thus far.

After originally being scheduled for release this fall, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Julian Hilliard, and Ruairi O'Connor – is now set to be released on June 4, 2021.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.