The 'Five Nights at Freddy's' Film Brings the Cult Classic to Life — Is It Canon to the Series?

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

May 22 2023, Published 3:22 p.m. ET

Live-action adaptations of video games are now treading some uncharted waters. This subgenre of visual entertainment has gone through some growing pains, but in recent years, they've broken the threshold to become sufficient money-making crowd-pleasers and even prestige television shows. Success isn't always guaranteed, but folks are putting more faith into live-action adaptations of video games than they have in the past. This puts the Five Nights at Freddy's film in a curious place.

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The 2023 film is based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, with the original FNaF game having first been released back in August 2014. The game achieved widespread cult classic status among gamers thanks to positive word of mouth among Let's Play YouTubers. It would go on to earn several game sequels and spin-off media, each of them developing the sprawling lore of the series. With the premiere of the live-action film, fans are wondering if it will have a canon connection to the games.

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Is the 'FNaF' movie canon to the games?

The plot of the live-action film resembles that of the original game. It follows Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), a newly-hired security guard at a branch of the once-popular family entertainment restaurant chain, Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. Once there, he comes face to face with the restaurant's animatronic mascots, each of whom has murderous tendencies. He attempts to survive at least his first five nights at the new job, all while unraveling the mystery behind the mascots at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza.

The film adapts the very first game in the series, but the source material extends into an entire media empire. Through several sequels, spin-offs, and even novels, the FNaF lore has been developed and expanded to add more and more layers of supernatural mystery to the series. Naturally, this leads to various installments having their own level of canonical relevance to the series overall. Some games feature multiple endings with only some of them being canon to the series.

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Certain spin-offs and side stories may also take creative liberties, altering their place in the canonical timeline.

Where does that leave the live-action film? As with most adaptations of this nature, the FNaF film tells the events of the first game in its own setting. While it will certainly draw from readily-established lore, it is unlikely that the film itself will have anything to do with the story within the game series.

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In the FNaF subreddit, a fan suggested in 2018 that the film has the potential to draw from the first three games without having anything to do with the timeline of the source material.

"They'll be similar to Harry Potter in the sense that they adapt canon installments, but they themselves are not canon," they commented.

Fans may want to brush up on the games' lore just to catch any potential Easter Eggs, but they won't have to worry about the film inserting itself into the franchise's timeline.

The Five Nights at Freddy's live-action movie comes out in theaters on Oct. 27, 2023.

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