Comic book movies never shy away from little Easter Eggs and cameos for fans to find in films. However, the DCEU might have one of the weirdest, spookiest recurring cameos to date. Now already appearing in three separate movies, the demonic Annabelle doll’s appearances in the DCEU have fans amused yet confused. Here’s where, when, and why Annabelle keeps appearing in the DCEU.
Who (or what) is the Annabelle doll?
Before we begin, we probably have a lot of readers here who aren’t that into horror flicks, so I’ll briefly recap and explain who – or what – the Annabelle doll is.
Annabelle first appeared briefly in ‘The Conjuring’ (2013). The main protagonists of the entire ‘Conjuring’ franchise are Ed and Lorraine Warren (portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively), two demonologists who deal with paranormal and supernatural occurrences for a living.
Two girls living as roommates called the Warrens because there was something very strange and very malevolent going on in their apartment since they got the doll. As it turns out, the doll was possessed by a powerful, evil demon that plagued their lives and wanted their souls.
We then get more details about Annabelle in her standalone 2014 movie that happens within the same ‘Conjuring’ universe, along with two additional movies about the demon-possessed doll – ‘Annabelle: Creation’ (2017) and ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ (2019).
The whole thing was based on a true story the real-life Ed and Lorraine Warren told for years. They had the Annabelle doll safely locked in their basement due to a malevolent entity’s attachment to the doll.
Whether you believe the real-life story or not, there’s no doubt that the movie version of Annabelle is downright terrifying. Now, what does that horrifying doll have to do with the DCEU movies – three of them, to be precise? The answer is actually quite simple. But first, let’s break down where you might’ve spotted Annabelle in each of those movies.
Annabelle’s cameo in ‘Aquaman’ (2018)
‘Aquaman’ was a hit in theaters when it dropped, and it’s no wonder when you know it was directed by James Wan – one of the most talented, self-made young directors of this generation.
The Annabelle doll’s cameo in this film was quite tiny – you probably missed it when you watched the film. Well, keen-eyed viewers spotted the creepy doll in an unsuspecting scene near the beginning of the film.
Arthur Curry and Mery are boarding Mera’s ship to embark on a mission, and right before that, we get a cool shot of the ocean floor. Right there on the ocean floor, you can briefly see Annabelle in the distance, right in the middle of the shot.
It had no significance to the plot, but it was a surprising cameo for the ‘Conjuring’ fans who watched Wan’s newest flick. I guess somebody found a way to get rid of the demonic doll without the Warrens…
Annabelle’s cameo in ‘Shazam!’ (2019)
Only a few months later, ‘Shazam!’ came out and amused fans around the world with a cool sense of humor but also elements of horror in some instances. The director, David F. Sandberg, imagined the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ from the DC comics as monsters plaguing the Earth while implementing a few jump scares.
They weren’t ‘too much’ to take away from the film’s entertaining and overall humorous spirit – but the monsters and jump scares weren’t the only horror-ish elements in ‘Shazam!’.
Again, near the beginning of the film, Billy Batson (the teenager who later turns into Shazam) tricks two police officers into entering a pawn shop before locking them inside to use their car’s radio. As they enter the pawn shop, though, you can see a brief glimpse of the Annabelle doll on one of the shop’s shelves.
It was a really cool cameo for the ‘Conjuring’ and ‘Annabelle’ fans because, in the very first ‘Annabelle’ movie, the first time we see the doll is actually in a pawn shop.
Annabelle’s came in ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ (2023)
Finally, the last Annabelle cameo in the DCEU (and DCU) so far was the one in ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ – the sequel to its 2019 predecessor. The movie wasn’t as cool as the first one, but it had its moments.
To me, the best moment in the entire film was that tiny little Annabelle cameo that already came in the trailer for the movie. We see a pediatrician’s office with a small child-sized desk surrounded by all kinds of toys. Among those toys, we see Annabelle creepily sitting on one of the desk chairs.
I was actually expecting and eagerly waiting for the cameo to happen – and then it happened already in the trailer.
Now we know when and where Annabelle appeared in each of the three movies – but we still haven’t gotten to the ‘why.’
Why does Annabelle keep appearing in various DCEU movies?
The answer doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie plots – but rather, their directors.
James Wan is the creator of ‘The Conjuring’ universe, and he was the one to introduce the Annabelle doll to the world in the very first ‘Conjuring’ film – well, at least he introduced it on the big screen first; the Warrens presented Annabelle to the world in real life first.
Also, the ‘Aquaman’ lead antagonist, Ocean Master, was portrayed by Patrick Wilson – the same actor who portrays Ed Warren in the ‘Conjuring’ franchise. The Annabelle cameo was kind of a natural fit because of those two working together on a completely different movie yet again. It was a nice Easter Egg for fans and an even nicer homage to their work for the two of them.
As for the ‘Shazam!’ movies, both were directed by David F. Sandberg. The same director is behind the movie ‘Annabelle: Creation’ (2017), the second ‘Annabelle’ movie that many – including myself – consider to be by far the best Annabelle-based movie in the ‘Conjuring’ franchise.
In fact, Peter Safran, the producer of both ‘Shazam!’ and ‘Annabelle: Creation,’ revealed in an interview that it was Sandberg’s idea to include the little cameos in the DCEU films:
“He and I share that history of Annabelle: Creation together, and we just loved the idea. Obviously, we put one in Aquaman as well. It’s just a fun little Easter egg, and it kind of organically fit in a pawn shop. It was great ’cause in the very first Annabelle movie, that’s where we first see the doll is in basically a pawn shop.”
So, Wan and Wilson are ‘responsible’ for Annabelle’s cameo in ‘Aquaman,’ whereas Safran and Sandberg are ‘responsible’ for the cameo in the ‘Shazam!’ films.
Fan theory: Are the DCEU and ‘Conjuring’ happening in the same universe?
The repeated cameo of the Annabelle doll in DCEU films made fans wonder if the two franchises are somehow actually happening in the same universe. It would explain why Annabelle keeps popping up, but in reality, the theory is quite fragile.
Firstly, Patrick Wilson appears in both franchises and portrays completely different characters – Ed Warren and King Orm, aka Ocean Master, respectively. One might say, ‘Maybe those are the variants of the same man’ – and that might be plausible, but then it’s already not the same universe anymore, is it?
There’s another example of an actor – or actress, to be precise – that appeared in both franchises, portraying different roles. In ‘Annabelle: Creation,’ Grace Caroline Currey (then known as Grace Fulton) portrayed Carol, whereas in the ‘Shazam!’ films, Grace played Mary Bromfield.
Also, we never saw Annabelle do anything ‘demonic’ in her DCEU appearances. So, for all we know, it’s just a doll that happens to look the same as the one that a demon possessed in some other version of reality.
In any case, the movies take place in completely different eras – different centuries, that is – so there’s nothing to contradict the possibility of it being the same universe, at least not plot-wise. In the end, it’s a cool theory, but it remains a theory that hinges on a few cameos introduced by people who worked on both franchises.
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