The Five Nights At Freddy's Trailer Easter Egg You Probably Missed

Is there a word for becoming so obsessed with dissecting "Five Nights at Freddy's" that you slowly lose your mind? Fred-obsessed? Fazbear-pilled? Well, whatever it's called, I most certainly have it. The lore of "Five Nights at Freddy's" is convoluted at best and downright confusing the rest of the time, with plenty of questions left unintentionally answered so fans can spiral out of control with theories and become walking examples of the Pepe Silvia meme from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." At the beginning of September, I pointed out how the trailer for the film adaptation from Universal and Blumhouse depicted Mr. Cupcake (aka Carl) attacking a young vandal who broke into Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, a game mechanism that didn't show up until "Five Nights at Freddy's 4."

The character is played by Joseph Poliquin, and according to IMDb, is named "Carl." This is already a cute homage to the fan-chosen name of the Cupcake that game creator Scott Cawthon later canonized, but that's not where the fandom in-joke references end. It was upon closer inspection of the trailer that I noticed something about Mr. Cupcake's victim Carl — namely, a bit of costuming detail that I had missed in my excitement at seeing an angry Cupcake in action. If you look closely at the shirt Carl is wearing, there's an image on the front from "Midnight Motorist," a lore-contained mini-game that remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the entire "FNaF" canon.

The mystery of Midnight Motorist

Remember how I said that the lore of "Five Nights at Freddy's" is often convoluted at best and downright confusing otherwise? Well, that's because learning the backstory and motivations of certain characters doesn't always come from easily digestible in-game storytelling or through the book/graphic novel tie-ins. Sometimes, the information can be gathered from mini-games within the "FNaF" main games, often presented in simplistic 8-bit formats that require a whole lot of theorizing. "Midnight Motorist" is one of those moments.

The mini-game was presented in "Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator," and follows pretty standard arcade game rules. The player controls a pink car and must drive around and reach the finish line while avoiding purple cars. Speed increases the longer a player goes without hitting a car, and collisions result in slower speed. This is the game aspect of the "lore-contained mini-game" classification, but the real story is what happens on the peripheries.

There's a gap at the bottom of the screen, and driving through it takes you to a new area. The music changes, the story changes, and you'll eventually end up at a bar called "JR.'s." The game reveals that the player is in control of a yellow stick figure, who is greeted by a green man in the building who says, "Come on, you know you can't be here. Don't make this more difficult than it has to be." Having been kicked out, you return to your car and drive off. Depending on which route you take, you wind up either visiting what has been interpreted as a grave, or your house, where it's implied that you're a bad dad to your kids.

Eventually, you'll leave the house and notice in the back that there is a shattered window and two pairs of footprints, one pair resembling rabbits. "Ran off to that place again. He will be sorry when he gets back," you say. The minigame ends there and returns to the "Pizzeria Simulator" screen.

What does it mean?

There's good news and bad news when it comes to "Midnight Motorist." The bad news is that creator Scott Cawthon has never fully explained how this side story relates to the overall lore of the game, but the good news is that there are countless fan theories and YouTube analyses available online to try and make some semblance of sense of it all. One of the most prevalent theories is that the Yellow Man is William Afton, despite the fact he's been canonically proven to already be the "Purple Man" seen throughout the games. Based on the part of the mini-game shown at home, it certainly seems to track with William's backstory of being an abusive father to his sons.

One of the other major theories is that the Yellow Man is not Afton, but the abusive parent of a victim of The Missing Children Incident. This was a canonical tragedy at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza in which five children went missing, only to be found years later having been murdered and their corpses stuffed into the animatronics. Police think that the suspected killer dressed as a mascot to earn the children's trust — we later learn that was William Afton.

It's doubtful that the "Five Nights at Freddy's" movie will provide any answers to the "Midnight Motorist" mystery, but seeing a character wearing a shirt referencing the mini-game is a pretty cool Easter egg to all of the "FNaF" obsessives out there. We can only hope that one day we'll learn the truth of the Yellow Man. Until then, it sure is fun to theorize.

"Five Nights at Freddy's" will be released simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock on October 27, 2023.