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Is the Five Nights at Freddy's movie canon? Here's what we know

Sure, we recognize those creepy animatronics and even the main character, but is the FNAF movie in the same universe as the games? We do a bit of digging to answer

Image credit: ScottGames

As I write this article, we are just hours away from the release of the Five Nights at Freddy's movie. The joint Blumhouse and Universal project brings the massively popular series of horror games to the big screen for the very first time (and just in time for Halloween!). But just how close to the games is the movie?

Or maybe more specifically for today's viewers: is the Five Nights at Freddy's movie in the same canon as the games?

Well, the answer to that is a little more complex than just a simple yes or no. To get to it, we're going to have to understand exactly what the term 'canon' means in the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise. So grab your flashlight, keep a watch on the security cams, and don't go into that closet - we're going fishing at Freddy's.

What is the Five Nights at Freddy's Canon?

Three of the animatronic creatures from Five Nights at Freddy's
Image credit: Blumhouse Productions

If you're a casual FNaF fan, you might've been surprised to hear that there even was a canon. And with reason - if you've only played one or two games, it might've seemed like a standalone horror experience. But dig a little deeper and you'll find a rich, storied legendarium. I won't go too deep into it, but you can check out Fran Ruiz's explainer on Five Nights at Freddy's lore for more details.

What I will say is that the story revolves around a party venue, haunted by the ghosts of murdered children. Among the thirteen games that bear the Five Nights at Freddy's name, nine of them contribute to the fable of this freaky funhouse. They are considered...

The Five Nights at Freddy's Canon Games

Image credit: ScottGames

Beginning in 2014, FNaF's animositous animatronics have scared their way into a series of sequential stories, listed here in release order:

  • Five Nights At Freddy’s (2014)
  • Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 (2014)
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 (2015)
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 (2015)
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location (2016)
  • Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator (2017)
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted (2019)
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Special Delivery (2019)
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach (2021)

Obviously, the games caught on pretty well, which is probably one of the reasons a horror giant like Blumhouse would pick up the film in the first place. In fact, the characters and visuals of Five Nights at Freddy's were such a hit that the developer decided to make more games outside the main storyline, leading to what the fanbase knows as...

The Five Nights at Freddy's Non-Canon Games

Image credit: ScottGames

These games forsake continuity entirely, putting the Freddy's characters in situations totally unrelated to the overarching premise of the games. They are:

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s World (2016)
  • Ultimate Custom Night (2018)
  • Freddy in Space 2 (2019)
  • Security Breach Fury’s Rages (2021)

So it seems like we have our answer, yeah? You can go to IMDb right now and see that the films are following in step of the canon games, and not the non-canon. Mystery solved, everybody! Go home.

Just kidding, stay here. There's still more to consider on the subject of Five Nights at Freddy's canon, especially when you factor in...

The Five Nights at Freddy's Books

Image credit: ScottGames

Yep, books. Though the Blumhouse/Universal movie will be the first time Freddy Fazbear & Co. are on the big screen, it won't be their first time outside the video game format.

In 2015, Five Nights at Freddy's creator Scott Cawthon and novelist Kira Breed-Wrisley joined forces for The Silver Eyes, a novel based on the Freddy's games. The book featured a cast of characters unseen in the games before that and spawned a trilogy, listed here:

After the publication of the novels, Cawthon took his revolting robots to the comic format, starting by adapting the books, then moving on to new stories altogether. The Five Nights at Freddy's comics go like this:

Now, on to the important question: are these books canon? Thankfuly, the answer to this appears pretty straightforward: Cawthon himself took to Steam forums to respond that, yes, the books and the games take place in the same world. While they don't "fit together like puzzle pieces," there's no purposeful break in the Five Nights at Freddy's reality, like the non-canon games.

So, at last we come to it: where does this definition of canon leave the movie?

Is the Five Nights at Freddy's Movie canon?

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

As we've already established, the Five Nights at Freddy's movies doesn't break the bounds of canon like games Ultimate Custome Night and Freddy in Space 2 do. However, it also doesn't stick to canon like the books, which choose to focus on a different area of the world than the games.

Instead, the movie takes what is canon and blends it into a different product. For example, the main human character of the film is Mike Schmidt (played by Josh Hutcherson), who is the main character of the first game. However, one of the animatronics who appears is Springtrap, who does not show until Five Nights at Freddy's 3, in which Mike does not appear.

Ultimately the answer of whether the film and games are in the same canon comes down to how you view adaptations. Is the new One Piece live-action series in the same canon as the manga? Some fans would argue yes, despite the differences. Is the Arrowverse in the same canon as the DC Comics on which its based? DC Comics would answer with a resounding no; to them, it's a separate reality.

As for myself, I'd offer the opinion that, yes, a movie adaptation can fit in the same canon as its source material, even if plot points are slightly tweaked. But then again, the question of canonicity probably won't be on my mind as I see the film in theaters this weekend.

If the movie lives up to my hopes, I'll be to terrified to even think about it.

Grant DeArmitt

Grant DeArmitt: Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. As Povperse's Staff Writer, he criss-crosses the pop culture landscape bringing you the news and opinions about the big things (and the next big things). He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgment. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.


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