James Wan Teases a Return to Horror After Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom



  • Director James Wan has teased a return to the horror genre, expressing his itch to direct a horror movie.
  • Despite his success in big-budget Hollywood releases like “Furious 7” and “Aquaman,” Wan enjoys alternating between smaller films and larger films.
  • There is speculation that Wan could potentially direct “The Conjuring: Last Rites” and bring closure to the main franchise that he started in 2013.

Over the last two decades, director James Wan has become synonymous with the horror genre. Since the release of Saw in 2004, and his involvement in its subsequent sequels, his name has been attached to some of the biggest franchises in the industry, including The Conjuring universe, and the Insidious series of films. Though it’s been over two years since he directed a horror movie, that being 2021’s Malignant, Wan recently teased a return to the genre that made him famous while doing press for the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Speaking to Collider to promote the superhero film, Wan revealed that he enjoyed the chance to lean “a little bit more into the darker part of storytelling and visual filmmaking,” when it came to directing the monsters in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. When asked if that could signal a return to the horror genre, Wan mentioned that he is prone to following up big films with smaller ones, and that the itch to direct a horror movie is something that might need scratching.

“You know, I have a tendency to want to go back and forth. So, whenever I make a smaller film, I wanna go and make a big film. Whenever I’m doing a big one, I’m like, “Oh, I wanna go and do a smaller film,” and when I do my smaller films, it tends to be a horror film. So, you know, I feel like the itch for horror is potentially calling, but we’ll see.”

After directing such films as Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan took on his biggest challenge up to that point with 2015’s Furious 7, a film that would go on to earn more than $1 billion dollars at the box office. Franchise star Paul Walker unexpectedly passed away during the film’s production, yet Wan was able to handle the subject with grace, delivering an ending that proved he had the chops to not only pivot in terms of storytelling, but handle a big budget Hollywood release.

This would lead to Wan being brought on board to direct 2018’s Aquaman, another $1 billion-plus box office earner. Since then, he’s served as executive producer on more Conjuring and Saw films, as well as on movies like MEGAN, and Mortal Kombat.

Related: Aquaman 2 Villain Will Be Very Different From the Comics, James Wan Reveals

Could James Wan Direct the Next Conjuring Film?

Though The Nun 2 was released earlier in 2023, there hasn’t been a film in the main Conjuring series since 2021’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, a movie that would go on to earn $206 million dollars against a budget of $34 million. In October 2022, a sequel was announced, and in April 2023 it was given an official name: The Conjuring: Last Rites. The film will once again see James Wan serve as executive producer, but he’s also hinted that this could be the movie that wraps up the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, thus bringing a close to the main franchise. Speaking with Collider back in January 2023, Wan said in reference to the next Conjuring film:

“We kind of want to just take our time to make sure we get it right and to make sure the emotion of the Warren stories that we want to tell, and moving into, and potentially wrapping up, we just want to make sure that it’s the right thing, the right story that we’re telling.”

No director for The Conjuring: Last Rites has been officially announced as of right now, so there is a possibility that Wan could take on the job himself in order to bring closure to the franchise he started back in 2013. In the meantime, he’ll also be serving as executive producer on the upcoming films Night Swim, Salem’s Lot, and Mortal Kombat 2. For now, you can catch James Wan’s directorial talents in the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom which hits theaters on December 22, 2023.

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