FNAF Movie Makes 4 Key Changes to William Afton from the Game

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Matthew Lillard as William Afton, Five Nights at Freddy's

Here are four changes between Matthew Lillard's take on William Afton compared to the original version from the Five Nights at Freddy's (FNAF) video game. 

William Afton is the owner of Fazbear Entertainment and Afton Robotics, LLC, serving as the big bad of the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise. The character is a serial killer who slaughtered innocent children and hid their bodies inside animatronics. 

Afton is voiced by PJ Heywood in the game while Lillard portrayed the character in the 2023 FNAF movie. 

The Differences With FNAF's William Afton From the Games

Relation to Mike Schmidt/Afton

Matthew Lillard as William Afton, Josh Hutcherson as Mike Schmidt
Five Nights at Freddy's

In the video game, Mike Schmidt, the main protagonist of FNAF, was revealed to be the son of William Afton in 2016's Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location. 

However, in the FNAF movie, William and Mike (Josh Hutcherson) aren't related at all. Instead, the film confirmed that Vanessa Shelley/Afton (Elizabeth Lail) is the serial killer's daughter. 

This was further cemented when Mike's parents appeared in his dreams, showing a flashback of the camping trip where his younger brother, Garrett, was kidnapped.

Fast forward to the present day, Mike tells Vanessa that his mother is dead and his father has been gone for a long time.

It remains to be seen if another twist involving William and Mike about their true familial connection will be unveiled in future sequels, but there's a strong chance that it won't happen. 

The film appears to set up a potential romance between Mike and Vanessa, and it would be weird if they were later revealed to be siblings. The fact that William kidnapped Mike's younger brother, Garrett, seems to be an unforgivable act.

Different Daughter

Spring Bonnie, Vanessa
Five Nights at Freddy's

The Five Nights at Freddy's video game confirmed that William had a different daughter named Elizabeth Afton. This character is a villain who possesses the evil animatronic called Circus Baby. 

However, Elizabeth was not mentioned in the FNAF film since William's only daughter was revealed to be Vanessa

Vanessa grew up to be a cop and eventually became a loyal ally to Mike Schmidt in the film who helped take down her father once and for all. 


Matthew Lillard as William Afton
Five Nights at Freddy's

Blumhouse Production's Five Nights at Freddy's took it up a notch by showcasing the real form of William Afton. 

Matthew Lillard's FNAF character is shown as a normal guy on the outside but a creepy serial killer on the inside. 

In the video game, Afton is only represented as a purple figure along with the nickname "Purple Guy." Aside from his purple stature, the character appears to be wearing a security badge. 

While the film managed to show William Afton in the flesh, the character didn't have any security badge attached to him. Instead, Lillard's version of the FNAF big bad appeared in his careers counselor uniform and Spring Bonnie costume.

Control Over Animatronics

Matthew Lillard as William Afton
Five Nights at Freddy's

The first Five Nights at Freddy's game established the fact that William Afton wasn't the one controlling the animatronics, with them acting of their own free will. 

However, the Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones book seemingly implied that Afton did have some sort of control over certain Twisted animatronics. 

In the book, William tells the twisted animatronics that he is responsible for bringing them together while also declaring that he is the only one capable of controlling them. 

A major change that the FNAF movie revealed is the fact that Matthew Lillard's William Afton is influencing all the animatronics to be violent and kill others from the get-go. 

While the film didn't explain how he has control over the killer animatronics, some have theorized that it could be a psychic connection. 

Five Nights at Freddy’s is now streaming on Peacock and playing in theaters. 

- In This Article: Five Nights at Freddy's
Release Date
October 27, 2023
Josh Hutcherson
Matthew Lillard
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.