James Wan has shared some brand-new images of what the demon was originally going to look like in The Conjuring 2. Hardcore horror fans will know that the director chose to remove the animatronic demon at the last minute, in favor of the demonic nun known as Valak. The choice was a wise one since Valak went on to star in 2018’s The Nun, which has a sequel on the way. In a new social media post, Wan says that The Conjuring 2 is “one of my personal fav[s]. I focused on character-storytelling above anything else.”
Before Valak came into The Conjuring 2, James Wan had some other ideas that were based more on demons. He says, “Here’s my first design of the demonic entity haunting the family and Lorraine. 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.” That alone is pretty huge news for fans who wanted to see what the director would have done with the iconic video game franchise. Wan shared some more concept art, which shows off that version of Dracula, along with the animatronic demon used in the movie. However, even after they had an animatronic suit made, it was not to be. Wan explains.
“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.”
James Wan thought back to some personal experiences that he had to give The Conjuring 2 the right touch. “I remember the real-life Lorraine Warren talking about her love and reverence for her nun friends, and a lightbulb went off,” says Wan. “Thus… the Demon Nun was born. So we went back and replaced all the Horned Demon with the Nun during additional photography. I call the last image Beauty and the Beast.” Valak is now an iconic figure in the world of horror, thanks to Wan’s quick thinking.
In mythology, Valak was never pictured as a nun. That was something that James Wan and crew came up with when thinking about a conversation he had with the late Lorraine Warren. The demon is traditionally described as a child with angel wings that rides on a two-headed dragon, which would have also probably worked in the horror sequel. With that being said, the Valak from the movie doesn’t have a whole lot to do with mythology.
James Wan and crew made it through the entire shoot of The Conjuring 2 using his repurposed demon from his Castlevania project that never saw the light of day, only to ditch it during the editing process to throw Valak into the mix. One has to imagine if the sequel would have been as big of a hit with horror audiences had they left the demon in. You can check out all of the images of the demon above, thanks to James Wan’s Instagram account. Be sure to scroll through all of them.