Warning! The Nun spoilers await!
The growing number of films in The Conjuring shared universe have a surprisingly solid track record. The Nun is the latest piece of backstory in this complex series and it not only doesn’t diminish the overall integrity of the franchise, but it also expands the boundaries of the series’ universe in some ambitious ways. The Nun ending is key to that.
The Nun’s major purpose is to shine a light on how the franchise’s big threat and Conjuring 2 baddie, Valak, comes into existence. However, the film throws a lot of lore at its audience and it’s easy for even Conjuring superfans to get lost in all of this information. Accordingly, here’s an easy to understand explanation of everything that goes down in The Nun’s finale as well as what its significance is to the larger Conjuring universe.
The Nun explains that Valak’s origins and this Abbey’s curse go all the way back to the Dark Ages. The Duke of St. Carta is responsible for summoning demons into the world and he dabbles with the first evil that kicks off all of the world’s supernatural weirdness. Understanding The Nun ending first requires cracking the puzzle that brings Sister Irene and Father Burke to the Abbey of St. Carta in the first place. Sister Irene learns that in order for Valak to roam free in the real world, he requires a host to possess. Initially it appears that Sister Victoria’s death is a suicide from the result of Valak’s torment, but in fact it’s a holy sacrifice so that Valak won’t be able to take control of her.
The film’s final act revolves around sealing the Abbey’s unholy ground and ensuring that Valak remains banished. This is a process that involves the actual blood of Jesus Christ, so clearly things are fairly out of control. Valak temporarily gains possession of Sister Irene until Frenchie is able to expose her to Jesus’ blood to exorcise Valak’s influence. Valak turns his attention to Frenchie, but Sister Irene is able to permanently seal away Valak (by spitting Jesus’ blood into his face, no less) and save St. Carta in the process. Or so they think.
Obviously with Valak very much a threat in the other Conjuring films he can’t be vanquished just yet. The Nun ending pulls one final twist on its audience, but what’s so impressive here is that Conjuring obsessives technically know how the film ends as soon as Frenchie reveals his French-Canadian roots and that his real name’s Maurice. The film concludes with Valak secretly gaining possession of Frenchie (note the upside down cross mark on the back of his neck) and the bombshell that Valak is using him as his conduit into the real world!
But wait, there’s more!
The Nun then jumps 20 years in the future to the 1970s and features a very familiar scene. The film presents the Warrens’ “three stages of possession” lecture from the beginning of The Conjuring, which contains footage of a very special exorcism. Ed Warren clearly identifies the exorcised subject as Maurice, “or ‘Frenchie’ as his friends liked to call him.” This reveal is significant because it means that the Warrens weren’t just dealing with any exorcism with Frenchie, but it’s in fact the Warrens’ first encounter with Valak (and likely what causes Lorraine’s recurring visions of the demon to begin in the first place). The dialogue in the lecture may be slightly tweaked (Maurice is identified as a “French-Canadian farmer,” not as “Frenchie,” in the original scene), but it’s still a significant way to further link these narratives.
This adds to the claim that everything in The Conjuring series is deeply connected and all a part of one big evil tapestry. Even Sister Charlotte’s photo from Annabelle: Creation makes a sly appearance in The Nun. While a sequel to The Nun still hasn’t been confirmed (and there’s no post-credits scene either), Wan has already spoken about having a creative idea for The Nun 2 that would “bring the franchise full-circle.” It’s fair to say that any sequel would follow possessed Maurice’s story in the two decades that follow. It could even revolve around the exorcism that’s featured in The Conjuring 2 that bring the Warrens into the picture. What follows next and when exactly it will take place remains to be seen, but The Conjuring universe is far from finished terrifying audiences.