In a lengthy Instagram post, James Wan revealed that the evil in The Conjuring 2 was originally supposed to take the form of a winged demon, created by his longtime makeup effects collaborator Justin Raleigh. In the creature’s accompanying video, Wan described the costume as a “beautifully/terrifyingly sculpted animatronic doll head and practical bodysuit.”
Ultimately, however, Wan made a crucial creative decision that eliminated the winged demon from the film and replaced it with the nun instead. “I think I only have one fully finished shot with CGI wings. It was really awesome and epic,” Wan wrote in the post. “But as cool as it was, it felt out of place in the Conjuring world we were building. And so I re-imagined the villain during post-production — I felt like he needed to be something more down-to-earth, personal, and scary. Demonic Nun Was Born.” Additionally, in a caption for the video, Wan lamented that the winged creature was “the best demon was that I never used”.
The nun came to life through the talent of Bonnie Aarons when additional scenes were filmed for the film, Wan noted. Additionally, the iconic painting of Valak was created as one of the film’s additional spooky set pieces.
Now, of course, Valak has become one of the scary faces of The Conjuring universe, along with Annabelle and The Crooked Man, who also made his scary debut in The Conjuring 2. Valak is expected to return with The Nun 2 in September 2023 to chase your dreams.