When the Five Nights at Freddy’s game first came out a decade ago, I was not impressed. In the year 2014, when games like Sunset Overdrive and Dragon Age: Inquisition were options, why would I elect to play to be jump-scared and control cameras? 

That changed, however, as the franchise progressed, and I discovered the story was more than what it appears. The beady-eyed animatronics were allegedly the souls of murdered children, and the ominous rabbit their murderer.

In all, each game turned out to be an addition to a fleshed-out storyline of deception and redemption. In short, a seemingly mindless horror game became an epic, and last year it proved the perfect source material for a box office film.

The highly-anticipated Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 movie is now in the works, film star Josh Hutcherson told Variety, but without much more detail. As a franchise fan, here are three things I hope to see — or not see — in the next film.

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Make the Animatronics Menacing

To the dismay of fans, the Five Nights at Freddy’s film was rated PG-13 in theaters. For those who played the games or understand the lore of the franchise, it simply made no sense. At its core, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror series. A simple search on YouTube will result in compilations of terrified reactions gamers have while playing any of the games. As such, it was expected that they were to be a major element of horror in the movie.

Bonnie from the original Five Nights at Freddy's Game. He is a purple rabbit, and his mouth is open.

Bonnie from the original Five Nights at Freddy’s Game.

The film instead focused on the childish aspect of the animatronics, resulting in disagreements from fans. In particular, the infamous fort scene created heavy online discourse, as fans debated whether the moment where all the animatronics played was the best way to symbolize their possession. From a thematic perspective, it did make sense, but the reality that these machines are possessed by children does not mean they still cannot be scary. Instead, it should make them scarier. These are vengeful creatures who behave like children — and I hope that the producers of this next movie keep that in mind, make it Rated R, and terrify us a tiny bit.

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Introduce the Puppet

The puppet from Five Nights at Freddy's 2. It is a doll with an oval face, red circular blush on each cheek, a black empty mouth, and purple lines running from the bottom of its eyes to its mouth. The eyes are all black, with white dots for pupils.

For those well-versed in the Five Nights at Freddy’s lore, the phrase “introduce the Puppet” needs no explanation. She is crucial to the storyline’s plot, and a fan favorite. The Puppet, also referred to as the Marionette, first appears in Five Nights at Freddy’s 2. It is revealed that she is the daughter of the co-founder of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, and she was murdered by William Afton. As the puppet, the girl is the one who takes the souls of the children and puts them in the animatronics. 

Instead of a violent cupcake wreaking havoc, I hope we see a character like the Puppet in the next movie. Unlike the other vengeful animatronics, she is at her core a protector, and adds a different dimension to them. 

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Less (or No) Steve Raglan (aka William Afton)

Steve (Matthew Lillard) talks on the phone in Five Nights at Freddy's

Matthew Lillard in Five Nights at Freddy’s

As a beloved fan of both Springtrap and Matthew Lillard, I write this with a heavy heart. Nonetheless, there needs to be less of his character, called Steve Raglan, in Five Nights at Freddy’s 2.

In the original lore of the games, Springtrap is a man named William Afton, who is not seen until the third game in the franchise. He instead lingers as a presence in the background of each story and character, making him even more ominous. In short, the less we see him, the more terrifying he becomes. 

Of course, it makes sense to speed the film storyline up a bit to create more drama for the movie watchers. However, given that they already showed us the Springtrap suit failure — albeit in a much less gruesome manner than expected — we already have seen a start and finish to his character for now. Allow the animatronics to be the center stage in this movie, with his presence felt behind the scenes. As someone who has seen all the video game content, every time Springtrap appears, it is incredible. That is because he doesn’t appear often, and movie watchers should get the chance to share in that experience.

No release date slated is slated for Five Nights at Freddy’s 2. However, given its extreme success, expectations are high. These are some of the ways it could be better for an individual part of the former group. But more than anything, I hope they do not rush it to ride the first movie’s success. 

This article was originally published on 1/9/24. 

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