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NBC Insider Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy's: How is the Movie Different From the Games?

With almost a decade of Five Nights at Freddy's video game mythology, how faithful is the new movie to the game storyline?

By Tara Bennett

Spoiler warning! Spoilers for Five Nights at Freddy's within!

Now that the movie adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy's is out in the wild, long-time FNAF gamers are finally getting to see just how faithful director Emma Tammi and game creator/screenwriter Scott Cawthon have been to the video game mythology. Of course, all adaptations need some elbow room to find their own ways just because of the difference in mediums, but the FNAF faithful are going to see a lot of elements pulled in from the nine video game titles and folded right into the movie narrative.

So NBC Insider has compiled what has carried over and how it differs from the games.  

RELATED: How Do You Bring a Video Game to Life? Five Nights at Freddy's Creators Explain

Five Nights at Freddy's main premise connections

Bonnie, Freddy Fazbear and Chica in Five Nights at Freddy's

The general video game and movie mythology are in alignment. Both are set in a now defunct restaurant — Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria — which is modeled after popular '80s family pizza party venue, Chuck E. Cheese. The Cheese and Fazbear's both showcase an animatronic singing band of anthropomorphized animals. In the game and movie, an overnight security guard is tasked with keeping the venue undisturbed by the outside world.

However in the first Five Nights at Freddy's game, the objective for that guard (the player) is to avoid the wandering animatronics and protect yourself with various tools. In the movie, Mike (Josh Hutcherson) mostly sleeps during his shift and only comes to meet the band when his little sister, Abby (Piper Rubio), befriends them. The first game and the movie also feature the same animatronic band members: Freddy, Chica, Cupcake, Bonnie and Foxy. 

RELATED: Are the Terrifying Animatronics in the Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Real?

Are the human Five Nights at Freddy's characters the same in the game and in the movie?

Vanessa Shelly (Elizabeth Lali) and Mike (Josh Hutcherson) face off during a scene

In both game and movie, the overnight security guards share the name Mike. But from there, they differ quite a bit. Mike in the movie doesn't get his last name revealed until the credit roll, where he's listed: Mike Schmidt. It's a clever Easter egg for gamers. As the movie story unfolds, it's made clear that Mike Schmidt has no familial connection to William Afton (Matthew Lillard), the child serial killer and owner of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria. Whether it's been orchestrated by Afton on the sly, or its just fate, Mike's first encounter with Afton is with his public persona, career counselor Steve Raglan, who connects him to the security job. It's only at the end of the movie, when Afton enters the pizzeria in the Yellow Bunny costume, that Mike finds out that his kidnapped little brother, Garrett (Lucas Grant), was also murdered by Afton. 

In the game, Mike Schmidt is actually William Afton's son, much like Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail) is revealed to be his child in the movie. Aside from surviving his father's animatronic creations across the various games, Mike's goal is to find his father which he has not done yet in the game series. 

RELATED: What Could a Five Nights at Freddy's Sequel Be About? What We Can Learn From the Games

Abby, Mike's little sister in the movie, is not a character in the video game series. And the same goes for their mean Aunt Jane (Mary Stuart Masterson), who wants custody of little Abby for the support checks. In the movie, Jane serves as the motivation for Mike to take the job so he doesn't lose custody. Later, the threat of Jane caring for Abby is enough to make the little girl run back to Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria without her brother. 

As mentioned above, Officer Vanessa Shelly in the movie initially introduces herself to Mike as the local beat cop. By the third act, Vanessa reveals that she is actually Afton's daughter and she knows exactly what her father has done to the five children. Feeling guilty, she tries to protect Mike and Abby from her father's machinations and the possessed animatronic's fondness for the little girl. This story is similar to Mike Schmidt's in the game, with some obvious broad departures. In the video games, a Vanessa the security guard appears in Help Wanted and Security Breach and becomes a serial killer inside a white rabbit suit. 

How does William Afton differ as the main villain?

Matthew Lillard as Steve Raglan in Five Nights at Freddy’s

Last but not least is the "Big Bad" of both the video games and the movie, William Afton. 

In the video game, Afton owns the Fazbear Entertainment and keeps the closed pizzeria from being razed. He is also a psychopathic serial killer who murders several children whose souls then possess the band animatronics. Afton is never fully seen in the games, but appears in two games as a purple silhouette — nicknamed "Purple Guy" — until his true identity and ghost form is eventually revealed to be inside the character Springtrap in Five Nights at Freddy’s 3. 

The movie remixed several bits of that mythology into its own thing regarding Afton's past and present. First, they created the Steve Raglan smokescreen for a third act twist  reveal that Raglan is actually Afton. Also, Afton is very much alive in the movie. It's implied that he's been able to get away with his serial killer ways by hiding in plain sight as first the owner of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria, where his daughter Vanessa helped him run the place. And then, when the missing children scandal closed it down, at some point, Afton took on the average guy persona of Raglan.

RELATED: The Origin of Five Nights at Freddy’s: How an Indie Video Game Became a Blockbuster Horror Movie

In the third act confrontation, Afton appears inside the pizzeria as Yellow Rabbit, a beloved wandering character as expressed in the children's pictures on the wall of the eatery. It's only when Abby draws the truth about Afton's Yellow Rabbit — that he killed the five children whose bodies are now spring-trapped inside the animatronics — that the creatures turn on their maker. They force Afton to also become spring-trapped inside his suit where he's painfully tortured by the mechanics and then thrown into the basement to rot.

Clearly not dead by the film's end, it's left open as to whether he recovers, or returns like the spirits of the children inside the other suits. He could rise again as an even scarier Yellow Rabbit, or look more like the Purple Guy from the video games. 

Five Nights at Freddy's is out now in theaters (purchase tickets at Fandango now!) and streaming exclusively on Peacock