In a surprise to exactly no one who’s been paying attention to the box office returns and franchise spin-offs, New Line and Warner Bros. are moving forward with The Conjuring 3. Per Deadline, The Conjuring 2 screenwriter David Leslie Johnson has been tapped by the studio to return for the follow-up script. James Wan, who directed the first two films of the franchise, is expected to return as a producer via his Atomic Monster company. However, in a significant shakeup for the horror film universe he helped build, Wan is not expected to direct.
There’s no word yet on who might step into the role for the third film, and it will be interesting to see if The Conjuring can maintain it’s spooky magic without the filmmaker behind the camera. Wan is a proven horror franchise creator, who also launched Insidious and Saw, and he’s got eye for visually arresting, iconographic characters. Which is no small factor in why the Conjuring-verse has opened up with spin-offs for three of those characters: Annabelle, The Nun, and most recently, The Crooked Man. The best thing the studio can do now is to find a director with a distinct style of their own and embrace that, rather than looking for someone to imitate Wan’s signature creepiness.
And it sounds like The Conjuring 3 will be the perfect opportunity to shake things up a bit because it’s not just the director that’s shaping up for a change this time around. While no logline is available for the third film yet, producer Peter Safran recently told CinemaBlend that the Warrens won’t be investigating another haunted house. Instead, they want to take the franchise in a new direction, pulling from the deep catalogue of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s investigations.
“There are some [cases] that maybe aren’t as well known, but they spent a fair bit of time researching and were part of [them]. Clearly we can’t do another haunted house movie, right? We can’t do another supernatural possession in a house, with a family in peril. Right? So, it’s got to be something different than that, I think.”
New Line has not set a release date for The Conjuring 3 at this time, but folks can get their next fill of Conjuring-verse scares when David F. Sandberg‘s Annabelle: Creation hits theaters. The prequel-sequel has been scaring up a lot of positive reviews and drops on August 11.