Are you ready to be scared? If the answer was "Hell Yes!" then you're in luck as James Wan's terrifying toy box is opening once again as Annabelle Comes Home hits theaters this weekend, bringing the devil doll back to haunt your nightmares. The third entry in the popular spin-off series focuses on Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and their notorious artifact room — and the impact that Annabelle has on it — which is filled to the brim with cursed, possessed, and demonic relics from their storied career as paranormal investigators.
With the Conjuring-verse now featuring seven films that span over 20 years of continuity, it can be hard to keep up with the sprawling lore that keeps the series alive. So as Annabelle creeps back onto our screens, it's the perfect time to look back at the franchise and where the key players are at before we spill our popcorn all over ourselves.
Genre fans first met Annabelle in the opening of The Conjuring and quickly caught up with her again in her first starring role which introduced a satanic panic backstory for the titular doll before adding even more to her mythos with 2017's Annabelle Creation. Annabelle Comes Home sees the Warrens reunited with the demonic doll for the first time since their debut in The Conjuring, and seeks to explore the impact of their unconventional career choice on their young daughter Judy (McKenna Grace). After all, how normal of a life can you have when everyone knows that your parents hunt spirits and — to add insult to injury — bring them into your family home?
The new film returns to the opening of The Conjuring, with the Warrens retrieving Annabelle and taking her back to their artifact room. When Ed and Lorraine leave for a trip, Judy, her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), and her recently bereaved BFF Daniela (Katie Sarife) have to face down Annabelle alone, so let's look back at where we left the characters to see how they might fare against the ancient evil.
Wilson and Farmiga have crafted the more complex real-life legacy of the Warrens into two of the warmest and most engaging leads in horror. The supernatural investigators are the protagonists of The Conjuring movies which are at the core of the franchise that introduced Annabelle. It's a big deal that Ed and Lorraine are back for Annabelle Comes Home as the trio was last seen on screen together during 2013's The Conjuring — which followed the couple ridding a home of a witch's curse — and haven't been reunited since. This is also the first time that the Warrens will be starring in a non-Conjuring titled film.
Ed and Lorraine were last seen during the events of The Conjuring 2 which saw them embark on a trip to Enfield, England where they attempted to help a family survive a haunting whilst also dealing with the accusations of fraud that followed them throughout their real lives. This thread will likely be important as the Enfield Haunting was a high profile case that put the Warrens on the international map and could play a key role in Judy Warren's struggle with her parents and their dangerous and controversial profession.
Originally played by Sterling Jerins, the Warren's daughter Judy will be portrayed by The Haunting of Hill House's McKenna Grace in Annabelle Comes Home. The young girl has played more of fringe role in the earlier films but is always at the forefront of her parents' minds, especially as her mother worries that she might fall prey to the nefarious spirits they battle with. It's not an unfounded worry as Judy has already had some supernatural interactions, almost falling prey to Annabelle in the first Conjuring film, and just like Ed and Lorraine, Judy's last appearance was in The Conjuring 2 where it was hinted that she shared her mother's psychic powers and connection to the other side.
The continuity of the Annabelle franchise can be a little complicated, so here's what you need to know. The Conjuring is set in 1971 and introduced the doll and her malicious machinations. It was here that Annabelle first showed herself as a dangerous entity who was driven by mischief and a demonic need to scare. Her titular prequel, Annabelle, is set in 1967 against the backdrop of satanic panic as the doll begins to terrorize another household after being given as a gift from a doctor to his young wife. Of course, as soon as she arrives, a spate of supernatural terrors hit the house. The film connects to both The Conjuring — as it ends with a mother buying the doll for her daughter, one of the students in the opening of the 2013 movie — and Annabelle: Creation.
The last film that featured the doll was the predominantly '50s-set prequel which offers up a true origin for Annabelle, who it turns out was created by a grieving dollmaker after the death of his daughter. Years later, the couple opens their small farm to a group of orphans who quickly fall victim to the evil entity. If you're wondering how this connects to the other films, it's all down to a little girl named Janice who gets possessed by the demonic spirit and ends up escaping the farm, renaming herself Annabelle, and eventually joining the satanic cult that features in the opening of the original Annabelle film. All caught up? That's where we left the little doll who could (kill), and as Annabelle Comes Home begins at the opening of The Conjuring, we can assume that we're going to be joining Annabelle and the Warrens back in 1971.