Fans of 'Five Nights at Freddy's' Are Still Wondering if Vanessa Is William Afton's Daughter

Is Vanessa the daughter of William Afton in 'Five Nights at Freddy's'? The newly-released movie has fans reigniting talks on popular theories.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Oct. 27 2023, Published 1:17 p.m. ET

The Gist

  • Fans of Five Nights at Freddy's are returning to the fan theory that Vanessa is William Afton's daughter.
  • The 2023 film addresses this directly.
  • Spoiler alert! This article contains plot details for several titles in the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise.
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The highly-anticipated Five Nights at Freddy's movie arrived in theaters on Oct. 27 in the US, just in time for the season of Halloween. The film adapts the long-running horror game franchise of the same name and follows the story of Mike (Josh Hutcherson), a security guard who faces off against killer mascot animatronics during the night shift of his job at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. The film itself garnered poor critical reception, but it has gotten fans reigniting theories about the franchise.

One such popular theory is that major character Vanessa is the daughter of series antagonist William Afton. Interestingly enough, the new film addresses this theory more directly than the games ever have. Let's break down what's been confirmed in the game and what the new movie tells us.

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Is Vanessa William Afton's daughter in 'Five Nights at Freddy's'?

Vanessa was first introduced to the game series in Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted, a VR installment that was released first released in 2019. She serves as the protagonist of the game who was hired to test the new Freddy Fazbear's Virtual Experience. She is later revealed to be a follower of Glitchtrap, an iteration of William Afton who was the original serial killer who inadvertently gave rise to the killer animatronics. She later appears as an antagonist in Security Breach.

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Several elements of the series seem to point to the fact that Vanessa is William Afton's daughter. For one, her last name reportedly starts with the letter "A," which would be an obvious clue toward her last name being "Afton."

In Security Breach, the player can collect several Retro CDs that can be played in a secret room. These CDs contain Vanessa's recorded therapy sessions that describe a grim custody battle between Vanessa's parents that her unnamed father ultimately won.

Fans on the r/GameTheorists subreddit took this to mean that Vanessa was William's daughter and has held varying degrees of loyalty to him ever since. While the games neither confirmed nor denied this fact, the movie addressed this directly.

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In the film, Mike is aided by police officer Vanessa Shelley (Elizabeth Lail), who informs Mike of William Afton's killings that took place at Freddy Fazbear's in the 1980s. As she and Mike attempt to defeat the animatronics, Vanessa eventually reveals that she is William Afton's daughter. William himself even makes an appearance in the film, having posed as Mike's career counselor Steve Raglan (Matthew Lillard).

While some fans don't necessarily equate the film's plot with overall game lore, many still view this as confirmation that Vanessa in the games was indeed William's daughter all along.

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