First, in 2013, there was The Conjuring.
Then, in 2014, there was Annabelle. Annabelle served both as an indirect prequel to The Conjuring and as the beginning of the spin-off series that follows the eponymous haunted doll. 2016’s Annabelle: Creation was a direct prequel to Annabelle. Annabelle Comes Home (the 7th and most recent movie in the Conjuring universe, and the 3rd to focus on Annabelle) is a direct sequel to both previous Annabelle movies, which occurred before the events of The Conjuring – but take place after the events of the 2013 franchise-starter.
Right. But fear not (or fear a lot, this is a horror franchise, after all), EW’s got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about Annabelle, presented in chronological order, before you see Annabelle Comes Home.
1943 – Annabelle: Creation: Annabelle is made. Literally. Dollmaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) physically crafts the porcelain doll that will eventually become a conduit for a demon. Then, his 7-year-old daughter Annabelle is hit by a car and dies. Mullins and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) unwittingly invite an evil spirit to latch itself onto the doll by praying to any entity that would let them see their daughter again. Once the Mullins realize this, they lock the doll in a closet lined with the word of God for 12 years.
1955 – Annabelle: Creation: The Mullins open their home to
potential victims orphaned young girls. The demon attached to the Annabelle doll lures one of them, Janice (Talitha Eliana Bateman), to the closet where it’s been trapped for just over a decade, and, of course, she opens it. The demon possesses Janice, kills the Mullins, and escapes before the police arrive at the scene. Possessed Janice ends up in Santa Monica, where she is adopted by the Higgins family and tells them her name is Annabelle. The Annabelle doll is taken as evidence, but in a classic Annabelle move, miraculously disappears.
1967 – Annabelle: In Santa Monica, John Form (Ward Horton) gives his wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) the Annabelle doll for her porcelain doll collection. Next door, Annabelle Higgins — who has joined a satanic cult since the events of Creation — murders her adoptive parents with her boyfriend. They then try to murder the Forms, but the police arrive and shoot Annabelle’s boyfriend. Annabelle kills herself and lets her blood drip onto the Annabelle doll, allowing the demon to reattach itself to its favorite host.
The demon torments the Form family and kidnap’s their daughter Ruby because it wants to take Mia’s soul. The Forms enlist the help of Father Perez (Tony Amendola), but before he can take the doll to his church, the demon attacks and injures him. Mia’s friend Evelyn sacrifices herself to save the Forms, and the Annabelle doll and the demon disappear.
1968 – Annabelle, The Conjuring, Annabelle Comes Home: Nursing student Debbie’s (Morganna Bridgers) mother finds the Annabelle doll in a pawn shop and buys it for her Debbie. Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) investigate Debbie’s claim that Annabelle is haunted and offer to take the doll for safekeeping. On their ride home, the demon stalls their car and tries to get Ed run over by a car. Once they get home, they lock Annabelle in a case made from chapel glass and hang a warning sign over it that reads: “WARNING! POSITIVELY DO NOT OPEN!”
1971 – The Conjuring: Annabelle’s demon tries to attack the Warren’s daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), but fails.
Early 1970s, after the events of The Conjuring – Annabelle Comes Home: Daniela Rios (Katie Sarife), a friend of Judy Warren’s babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), ignores the aforementioned aggressively explicit warning sign and opens the chapel glass case that contains Annabelle’s evil. Chaos ensues.
1973 – The Curse of La Llorona: Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) seeks help from Father Perez, the priest from Annabelle, because she and her children are being tormented by the titular weeping woman. Father Perez recounts to Anna his experience with Annabelle.
1977 – The Conjuring 2: The zoetrope toy containing the Crooked Man is placed in front of Annabelle.
Present Day – Aquaman, Shazam!: You read that right. Annabelle, the haunted doll, the beacon for evil spirits, the conduit for the demon at the center of 3/7ths of the Conjuring universe, appears as an Easter egg in both DC’s Aquaman and Shazam! The doll can be seen towards at the bottom of the ocean in Aquaman, towards the beginning of the Shazam! in a pawn shop.