The Conjuring 2's Original Valak Looked Nothing Like The Nun

James Wan is unquestionably one of our true modern horror masters, as the man behind "Saw" and "Insidious," as well as the shepherd of "The Conjuring" universe. The filmmaker has several huge franchises under his belt and, not for nothing, is probably responsible for the most reliable cinematic universe outside of Marvel's, as "The Conjuring" films and the spin-offs have consistently delivered without a single flop in the bunch. One of his biggest hits to date is "The Conjuring 2," a rare sequel that lived up to its predecessor. No easy task, in this case. 

Many horror fans remember the follow-up for introducing the demon nun Valak, played by Bonnie Aarons. The character resonated so well with audiences that she inspired the spin-off film, "The Nun." She's become a massive part of "The Conjuring" universe. But Wan's original plans for the movie's big demon were radically different from what audiences are familiar with now. While the filmmaker had talked about these plans in the past, he's now offered a pretty incredible look at what could have been. 


Taking to Instagram, Wan revealed the actual animatronic puppet/suit that would have been used in "The Conjuring 2" were it not for Valak being used in its place. To say the very least of it, the beast is pretty impressive even before being augmented with CGI to make it look more realistic. Had Wan and the filmmakers gone with this original concept, it would have reshaped the movie – and perhaps even the larger franchise – as we know it. 

A radical departure

In an era when so much is accomplished with CGI, it's impressive to see a creature brought to life through practical means. It's just a shame the beast didn't make it to the screen. That said, Wan previously discussed the original demon and, more importantly, why they decided not to use it in the movie as we know it. Wan's reasoning for abandoning the original demon are understandable.

"Aaron Sims (concept designer) and myself took inspiration from our Dracula design for a movie I was attached to a long time ago called Castlevania. Justin Raleigh/Fractured FX built an awesome animatronic suit, and we were going to augment it with CGI wings. But alas, during editing, I deemed this beautifully designed/sculpted horned demon too out of left-field for the film. It needed to be more grounded and personal — something that would take Lorraine's faith and try to test/corrupt it."

It is hard to argue against the demon Wan and his crew originally had in mind as it surely could have looked amazing. But his reasoning for taking it out of the film is quite sound, as it gets at the heart of the story he was trying to tell. It wasn't merely an aesthetic choice. Wan has proven that he makes decisions that best suit the project at hand. His consistent track record of success suggests that he, more often than not, makes the right decisions. Given the way things worked out, it would be tough to say he made the wrong call here.

A big change for the best

First of all, "The Conjuring 2" was a massive hit, taking in $310 million at the box office. Aside from that, it paved the way for "The Nun," a spin-off that proved to be an even bigger hit with $363 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing movie in "The Conjuring" universe to date. So, not only did Valak serve this movie well, but it created a very successful spin-off series, with "The Nun II" also on the way. As the demon exists, Valak proved to be an indispensable part of this franchise.

Bonnie Aarons is owed a great deal of credit for coming in at the 11th hour and bringing the Nun to life. Though less elaborate than the demon Wan and his team created, Aarons as Valak is also a practical way of bringing a terrifying supernatural being to life, and her performance has resonated with audiences in a big way. If this original creation had stuck around, Aarons might never have had the chance to shine in this role.

But who knows? This universe doesn't appear to be going anywhere, anytime soon, with "The Conjuring 4" officially in the works as well as a TV series for the Max streaming service. As long as the money keeps coming in, Warner Bros. will probably keep making these movies. That being the case, there could be room to use this original demon elsewhere in another spin-off down the road somewhere.