The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is very different from the two main Conjuring entries that came before. For one thing, ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) aren’t dealing with a haunted house this time. They’re also up against a human antagonist. On top of all that, unlike the two other Conjuring films, The Devil Made Me Do It doesn’t explicitly set up a spin-off character. The Conjuring had Annabelle, The Conjuring 2 had the Nun. But The Conjuring 3 avoids setting up a spinoff altogether.
But that wasn’t always the case. When I spoke with The Devil Made Me Do It director Michael Chaves, he revealed that an earlier cut of the film did set up a spinoff character – but that character ended up on the cutting room floor.
A Deleted Demon
The Devil Made Me Do It works perfectly fine without setting up a spinoff, but it’s fun to ponder “what if?”
“I haven’t said this to many people, so this is [an exclusive],” Michael Chaves told me when I interviewed him about the film:
“We actually did have what we thought was going to be the new [spin-off] demon, and this is something that was true to the story. We had a demon that was full-on pulled from little David’s interview and description. Arnie said he saw the same thing. And it felt like this was going to be the iconic demon. And [producer James Wan] was with this from the very beginning – James, Monster Maestro. And we shot it. We had a cut of the film with this demon in it. The demon worked with Occultist [memorably played in the movie by Eugenie Bondurant]. It was the two of them together.”
So what happened? According to Chaves, having the demon working with the Occultist made the movie too complicated. “We’re introducing a human adversary, which was the first time that’s ever happened in the Conjuring Universe,” the filmmaker said. “So all of a sudden, [the] relationship [between the Occultist and the demon] seemed a little hinky.”
Chaves said that while they were making the movie, he was positive the demon character was going to be the next to get its own Conjuring spinoff. “[But] sometimes they just don’t quite click,” Chaves said, adding that there’s some precedent for this in The Conjuring saga:
“The same thing happened in The Conjuring 2. The Nun was actually totally created in reshoots. The Nun didn’t exist before. There was another demon in [Conjuring 2] that the Nun replaced. And so we were in a similar situation where we had this story, [and] it was getting a little too complicated. The demon just wasn’t quite connecting.”
The Demon Actor is Still in the Film – as a Human
Chaves added that he felt bad for Davis Osborne, the actor who played the now-deleted demon. Thankfully, they were able to give Osborne another role – a patient in the prison infirmary who taunts Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), a young man driven to murder by demonic possession. “The guy who played the demon, incredible actor, this guy Davis Osborne,” Chaves told me:
“We brought him back and he’s actually the infirmary patient [who torments Arne Johnson in prison]. He did a great job in that. I was so happy. I felt so bad, my heart broke because I was like, ‘Man, you did such a great job with that demon, but it does not work in the movie.’ And so we figured out a way to still bring him back. But I think it goes to show the way these movies are made, and the flexibility of it.”
In the end, Chaves said he was “proud” his Conjuring film didn’t include a set-up for a spin-off, while adding that there are still elements in The Devil Made Me Do It that could influence future Conjuring entries. “What I actually am so proud of is that [with] this story, we were already taking a step out of the familiar format,” the director said. “And New Line, James, everybody was on board with that. Our first plan didn’t quite work, and we could adjust it, and tell the very best story with what we had. And I’m actually very proud that this doesn’t have that obvious spin-off. [But] I think that there’s a lot of threads you can pull. I think there is still a lot of room for where [the franchise] could go.”
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