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Five Nights at Freddy's: Inside the animatronic characters, the mythology, and the lore of the game-turned-movie franchise

FNAF is more than just creepy animatronics.

FNAF cast of animatronics
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

The Five Nights at Freddy's movie is almost here, just in time to make a Halloween killing at the box office and on streaming, and that means curious moviegoers who aren't familiar with the long-running series of video games have many questions about the franchise's iconic animatronics and the whys and hows that explain the entire concept behind the surprising horror story.

Descending down the FNAF rabbit hole can be as dangerous and maddening as being a night-time employee at a Freddy Fazbear's Pizza restaurant, so we'll try to keep things as simple as humanly possible in this piece. Of course, you can always try to play the games if you're not easily scared, but a huge portion of the FNAF fandom was born from watching gameplay videos on YouTube and reading fan theories, so we don't think it's essential homework to get into the mood!

Why are the animatronics in Five Night's at Freddy's killing people?

Freddy and the other original animatronics (more on that later) are seemingly possessed by the children murdered by a man named William Afton. Because of this, Freddy Fazbear and the others are now seeking revenge against their killer by attacking any adults occupying a similar position in the Fazbear establishments' after-hours shifts.

Who are the animatronics in Five Night's at Freddy's?

The animatronics in the FNAF games can execute complex actions. They were invented and established by robotics industries Fazbear Entertainment, Afton Robotics, and Fazbear Funtime Service. While they were commonly used for entertainment at public buildings, some of them were designed as electronic toys as well.

The movie adaptation appears to have included more animatronics than the original game, and we've listed them all below alongside short bios:

Freddy FNAF
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

Freddy Fazbear

Freddy Fazbear himself is the leader of the band of animatronics introduced in the first FNAF game. Despite his popularity, he's the animatronic who we see the least of in the original installment. He, however, starts up when the lights go out and becomes more unpredictable as the game advances. It remains to be seen if he behaves similarly in the movie.

Foxy FNAF
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

Foxy

Foxy was housed in an area known as Pirate Cove, but the entire attraction was closed, so he's in a much poorer state than the other animatronics, with chunks of his casing missing along with exposed legs. In the games, he's a very agile enemy. If the movie is faithful to his nature in the source material, he'll be a large threat.

Bonnie FNAF
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

Bonnie

In the original game, the first animatronic you meet is Bonnie. He plays guitar for the band, but doesn't carry the object around the pizzeria. He's silent and often seen as Freddy's best friend, but has no special traits nor strange behavioral patterns otherwise.

Chica FNAF
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

Chica

Chica is one of the three animatronics that was used to entertain the kids on the main stage, and probably was the backup singer for Freddy. She's known for her 'Let's Eat!' bib and a cupcake (Mr. Cupcake) that works as an extension of her. Chica often frequents the kitchen in the game, so maybe we'll first meet her there in the movie.

Springtrap FNAF
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

Springtrap

Springtrap is a bit of a surprise character in the movie, as he didn't show up until the third game. This animatronic could be worn as a suit thanks to hidden mechanisms under its "golden Bonnie" appearance. In the games, William Afton, the overarching antagonist of the series, is revealed to have been killed while wearing the suit. He's the person who killed the children that now presumably haunt the other animatronics too.
Golden Freddy FNAF
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Golden Freddy

Golden Freddy is another suit like Springtrap, making them the first two animatronics created by Afton. A prank gone wrong ended with a kid dying in his jaws. In the first game, players see him as a hallucination in the first game. However, the trailers for the movie show him as more of a physical entity (that's what it looks like), so maybe his presence in the adaptation is larger.

For the most part, the Five Nights at Freddy's games, created by Scott Cawthon, task players with working during night time at locations linked to Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, a fictional children's restaurant chain which takes inspiration from real-life chains like Chuck E. Cheese's and ShowBiz Pizza Place. However, the backstories and actual events (as well as the gameplay) evolve and get more complex as the series progresses. Moreover, there are several spinoff games and supplementary material (including novels) that expand on the FNAF mythos.

Five Nights at Freddy's movie trailer
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Five Nights at Freddy's (2014)

In the first Five Nights at Freddy's, the player takes on the role of Mike Schmidt (played by Josh Hutcherson in the movie), the newest security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, where the animatronics move at night and kill anyone they see by stuffing them into a spare animatronic suit. Such hostilities seem to be caused by the vengeful souls of children who were killed at the restaurant. Mike is guided by the previous night guard, known as Phone Guy, and is ultimately fired from the job after surviving several night shifts.

Five Nights at Freddy's 2 (2014)

Five Nights at Freddy's 2 takes place in a "new and improved" Freddy Fazbear's Pizza restaurant and features a new character named Jeremy Fitzgerald. The Phone Guy guides Jeremy as well, but during these calls, players learn about a "purple figure" that killed multiple children. At the end of the game, Jeremy's paycheck reveals the game takes place in 1987, which effectively makes FNAF 2 a prequel.

Five Nights at Freddy's 3 (2015)

Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is surprisingly set 30 years after the events of the first game, with the main character working at Fazbear's Fright, a horror attraction based on the long-gone Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. The game has two endings. The "bad" one reveals that the souls of the murdered children still haunt the animatronics. The good ending, reached by completing secret minigames, has the animatronic characters bringing a cake to what seems to be a sorrowful child's soul. As a result, the souls of the murdered children are freed.

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 (2015)

Even though FNAF 3 seemed to wrap things up quite nicely, the series wasn't going anywhere, and Five Nights at Freddy's 4 released shortly afterwards. In the atypical fourquel, the player character is unknown and unnamed, and has delusions of being attacked by nightmarish versions of the first game's animatronic characters. This young boy is bullied because "an irrational fear" of these characters. He is guided by a plush, seemingly friendly version of Fredbear, whom the boy imagines can speak to him when he is alone. Unfortunately, he seems to be killed by "nightmare" Fredbear in a freak accident.

FNAF Sister Location
Image credit: Scott Cawthon

Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location (2016) and beyond

Things got more convoluted from this point onwards, as the series started to embraced a more spinoff-based approach to the larger narrative and the evolution of the gameplay, trying different genres and introducing VR games in the process. The books, co-written by FNAF creator Scott Cawthon, also became central to the series' lore. Nonetheless, Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location (2016) shouldn't be ignored, as the game introduces a sister company of Fazbear Entertainment that rents animatronics for children's parties called Circus Baby's Pizza World. Later installments have broadened the franchise's horizons, and who knows where it can go next, especially after the movie brings in more unsuspecting victims on October 26 (Peacock) and 27 (theaters).


The Five Nights at Freddy's phenomenon is lasting longer than five nights. Get up to speed, with how to stream the movie, details on the characters and lore, getting to know the FNAF animatronics, how it fits in the canon of the games, talks of sequels, how Chuck E. Cheese is responding, and even a guide to how to play all the FNAF games.

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Can't get enough? We have have recommendations for five movies to watch after Five Nights at Freddy's.

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