With everything that has transpired over the last several games in the FNAF series, we’ve realized that death is a difficult concept to grasp in Scott Cawthon’s universe. While some essential characters died in a flash, such as Elizabeth Afton in Circus Baby’s clutches or Evan Afton between Fredbear’s jaws, some have lived to tell the tale.
Michael Afton is one of such characters, son of William Afton and sibling to Elizabeth and Evan Afton. Michael debuted in the series as a naughty brother who particularly bullied Evan, the “Crying Child” as he was known back then. However, the consequences of his actions manifested in the form of the Bite of ’83, a tragic incident that changed Michael for the rest of his life.
After the Bite of ’83, Michael decided to atone for his sins and tread down a dangerous path. In summary, by getting involved in the dark side of Fazbear’s Entertainment, Michael put himself through horror itself, dying not once but twice.
As odd as that may sound, the apparent lack of realism in what we just stated can best be explained by tracing things back to where they began.
Circus Baby: The First Evil Animatronic
The closure of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, in light of the Missing Children’s incident, dealt a massive blow to the reputation of Fazbear’s Entertainment. Henry Emily and William Afton, the company founders, knew that a comeback was much needed, albeit William harbored ulterior motives as well.
Having killed the five children involved in the Missing Children’s incident, William was ecstatic at this point as his mind ran wild with more sinister ideas.
What if, he brainstormed, there was a fully automatic animatronic that could do the killing for him? It could also hide the victim’s body inside itself, similar to how William disposed of the five children he had previously murdered. Animatronics were not typically spacious enough to house a child’s body, but making this new animatronic a little bit bigger would certainly not arouse suspicion, right?
As such, Circus Baby came into existence, an idea that was greenlit by Henry, who was fascinated by the state-of-the-art endoskeleton design. She could dance and sing and was equipped with a built-in helium tank for inflating balloons right at her fingertips.
But little did Henry know about Circus Baby’s “other” function, where she lured and singled out children with dispensed Ice Cream before pulling them in with her in-built Scooper.
The Tragedy at Circus Baby’s Pizza World
Regardless, with the next big thing ready to make its debut, Fazbear Entertainment opened up “Circus Baby’s Pizza World,” a very successful financial venture. All was going well; business was booming, and children were scooping, that is, until Circus Baby claimed one of William’s own. Young Elizabeth Afton, who was fond of Circus Baby, had always expressed the want to play with her.
Her incessant requests, however, were consistently denied by William. While he had an uncontrollable bloodlust towards children, he was not as terrible as to have his own fall victim to his sinister schemes.
Elizabeth, though, was unaware of this and often wondered why her father wouldn’t let her play with Circus Baby, who he admitted was modeled after Elizabeth herself. Failing to find a reasonable justification, Elizabeth was determined to play with Circus Baby at every sizeable opportunity.
Thus, such an opportunity finally presented itself one fine day. In the midst of another child’s birthday party, Elizabeth snuck into Circus Baby’s room, wanting to play with her. Circus Baby, as usual, started dispensing ice cream, her programmed luring tactic, to which Elizabeth favorably responded.
Then it happened – it was all over in a flash, and no one even realized, her screams muffled by the sound of overly excited children.
Bite of ’83: Michael’s Biggest Mistake
The death of Elizabeth left William disoriented for some time as he oscillated between taking and denying responsibility for what had happened. Amidst the dilemma, though, he was sure of one thing: he would never let any of his kids near his inventions ever again, no matter what.
However, at this point, his youngest son, Evan Afton, was super fond of his animatronics. Furthermore, simply disallowing him from playing with them was not going to cut it anymore, as he had learned from Elizabeth’s incident.
Thus, William resorted to an alarming method of diminishing Evan’s fondness for the animatronics and making him develop a legitimate phobia of them. It is said that for five nights straight, William showed Evan nightmares while he was asleep. In these nightmares, Evan saw himself trapped in his bedroom as he tried to fend off scarier versions of the same animatronics he so loved.
Evan’s frightful experiences are captured in FNAF 4, where we play Evan in his nightmare. Across all five nights, we witness Evan desperately trying to avoid the lethal approach of Nightmare Freddy, Nightmare Chica, Nightmare Bonnie, and Nightmare Foxy.
The Fated Birthday Party
By the end of the experiment, William had succeeded in keeping Evan away from the animatronics for good. In addition, he went well overboard by overlooking the bullying Michael subjected Evan to. Instances of bullying involved jump scaring Evan by wearing a Foxy mask, something that William personally encouraged and monitored through a plushie Fredbear.
However, things really got out of hand when Michael forcefully organized Evan’s birthday party at Fredbear’s restaurant.
On the day of the party, Michael ganged up with his friends, all wearing animatronic masks as they took Evan directly to Fredbear’s against his will. Evan was in tears at this point, having a mental breakdown, as his brother and friends flaunted him towards the Fredbear animatronic on stage.
Here, Michael was able to hatch his plot by forcing Evan’s head inside Fredbear’s mouth, putting him inside the very thing he feared the most. Then it happened – Evan’s tears flowed inside the animatronic’s spring-lock system, causing a spring-lock failure.
When a spring-lock failure occurs, the endoskeleton springs back into its default position, which in this context, implies the closing of Fredbear’s mouth. As such, Evan’s head was literally bitten into from an external perspective, instantly killing him in what is known as the Bite of ’83.
Michael’s First Death
After the Bite of ’83, Michael was not heard from for the several upcoming years – he continued being part of the Afton household. However, after William Afton went missing (due to his first death), Michael sprung back into action.
His first reaction was inquiring about his father’s whereabouts from his co-worker, Henry, to which Henry expressed his indifference. Thus, Michael had only one place to look for his father: his most recently opened business, Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rentals.
Michael infiltrated the facility by securing a job as a Late-Night Technician, a dangerous job fit for gathering tons of information. During the first two nights, Michael did not make much progress regarding gathering intel surrounding his father.
Instead, he often found himself hiding from the Funtime animatronics that lurked during the night, all while fixing the broken animatronics and doing his job. However, on the third night, Michael was ambushed and kidnapped by Funtime Foxy, passing out in the process.
Michael woke up in a spring-lock animatronic suit next to Circus Baby and Ballora. Michael learned that his late sister, Elizabeth, now possessed Circus Baby. In addition, she revealed to him how the other animatronics are also haunted and that he must free the souls of the dead children that possess them.
Michael steeled his resolve as his overarching goal shifted to finding his father and undoing everything he had done, starting with Circus Baby.
The Scooping Room Incident
Michael was instructed by Circus Baby to send her to the Scooping Room, where a Scooper machine was to remove her endoskeleton. However, as he entered the room and all the wrecked Funtime animatronics that were housed in it, Michael encountered Ennard and fell into Circus Baby’s trap.
For those who are unaware, Ennard is an amalgamation of all the Funtime animatronics that were destroyed as a consequence of trying to escape the facility. These animatronics included Ballora, Funtime Freddy, Funtime Foxy, and Circus Baby, whose physical features can be faintly seen in Ennard’s animatronic design.
Ennard was the embodiment of all the Funtime animatronics’ ambition to escape but stated that they had nowhere to hide, even if they were to do so. But, just like Michael, they could easily escape the facility and traverse the outside world if they somehow appeared human.
Therefore, Ennard’s plan was set into motion as the Scooper was used to rip Michael’s insides out, allowing Ennard to slip into his body and take over.
It is said that Michael did, in fact, die at this point and that Ennard controlled his body from this point onwards. However, later when Ennard exited its host due to excessive decomposition, Michael was somehow able to regain his consciousness miraculously.
Michael’s Second Death
Michael was somehow alive after everything that had transpired – he was not sure how, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his original objective. Shortly afterward, he finally got his first clue regarding his father’s whereabouts as he caught a whiff of Fazbear Frights, a newly opened horror attraction.
The main selling point posed by this attraction was that it featured an actual, salvaged animatronic suit that looked terrifying and worn out. However, Michael suspected that this was no ordinary animatronic from back in the day and might have been his father.
Thus, he infiltrated the attraction the best way he knew how – by signing up as one of the nighttime staff. And of course, while the job was perfect for gathering information and investigating the place’s main animatronic, it was also dangerous for obvious reasons.
Towards the end of his job, after discovering that the new animatronic, Springtrap, was indeed his father, Michael set Fazbear Frights ablaze. Not only was Springtrap burnt alive in the process, but so did the other haunted animatronics, an event that released the souls of William Afton’s first five victims.
However, as we all know, William survived the flame, cheating death not once but twice as he made his comeback as Scraptrap.
Henry’s Final Plan: Goodbye Michael
At this point, Michael had assumed his father had perished for good, leaving him with but a little meaning in his own life. However, the sudden announcement that proclaimed the opening of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Place pulled him back into the same mess as before. Why would Henry open it back up again, Michael thought, as he planned to investigate the shady business once more.
An expert in his craft, Michael was able to infiltrate Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Place and oddly secure a position as its manager. Furthermore, he was instructed every night by Henry to salvage four animatronics found in the restaurant’s back alley. Michael discovered these to be Scraptrap (William Afton), Scrap Baby (Circus Baby), Molten Freddy (Ennard), and L.E.F.T.Y (Puppet/Charlotte).
It was shocking to see all four animatronics in one place, possibly drawn to the massive influx of children every day – but that was beside the point. Michael soon realized the purpose of re-opening the entire restaurant: to gather all the remaining animatronics and put an end to the cycle of violence once and for all.
And so, Michael did exactly as he was told, salvaging all four animatronics before Henry set the entire premises ablaze.
While the four animatronics perished for good, Henry also decided to stay and die with them. However, in his final speech, Henry revealed that he did have a plan in place for getting Michael out, an innocent child who shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place.
Yet, what happened had happened – Michael was supposed to be dead, which is why Michael decided to stay and perished after having fulfilled his final purpose. Goodbye Michael.
Question: Why did Circus Baby betray Micheal?
Answer: It was initially astonishing to see Circus Baby, or Elizabeth, betray her brother to satisfy some ulterior motive. However, towards the enactment of Henry’s Final Plan, Circus Baby reveals her wish to kill more children in order to make her father proud.
This indicates that the Circus Baby animatronic overpowered Elizabeth’s soul, assuming complete control and fulfilling its sinister purpose. Thus, it was not Elizabeth who betrayed Micheal, but that he simply fell to the evil schemes of Circus Baby.
Question: How did Micheal survive his first death?
Answer: It was later revealed in the Scooper’s blueprint that it contained a remnant injector. If you don’t know, it is similar to what the Puppet used to infuse the souls of William Afton’s first five victims into the animatronics, causing them to become haunted.
Therefore, it is heavily theorized that when Micheal had his insides ripped out. However, he died, his soul was infused with his dead body, as if it was animatronic in nature.
Question: How did William survive the Fazbear Fright’s fire?
Answer: Unlike his first death, William Afton escaped the Fazbear Fright’s fire through more realistic means. William realized as he was burning that there must be an exit close by because he had a brief encounter with Micheal just before the place went down in flames.
Thus, if Micheal made it out alive after starting the fire, there must be some kind of exit in the vicinity. And so, Springtrap gambled on the assumption that his son must’ve escaped in one piece and sought out an exit, which he eventually did find.
Question: Why was Evan’s soul not initially freed?
Answer: As indicated from the minigame towards the end of FNAF 6 (Pizzeria Simulator), four of the six souls were set free when Micheal set Fazbear Frights on fire. The two remainings, who failed to be pleased with the outcome, were the Puppet and Evan (now being the sole inhabitor of Golden Freddy).
While the Puppet still had unfinished business with freeing Charlotte, Evan wanted to make sure his father was gone for good. After all, Evan went through so much worse and harbored greater resentment.
Question: What other names did Micheal Afton go by?
Answer: As far as what has been confirmed, Micheal Afton assumed two main aliases when he infiltrated different attractions established by Fazbear’s Entertainment.
The first is Mike Schmidt, a name he goes by when he starts working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza in FNAF 1. The second is Eggs Benedict, the main protagonist of FNAF: Sister’s Location, based in Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rentals. The technician is later revealed to be none other than Micheal himself!
Michael Afton’s character development from a naughty brother to arguably the series’ main protagonist has been a treat to witness. Michael is one of the most important characters in the FNAF series, mainly because he is the first to try to steer things to a definitive conclusion.
After the setup during the first couple of years of the FNAF timeline, where the animatronics start becoming haunted, and victims start to pile up, Michael is the first to investigate. Being the major perpetrator here, William should’ve been held accountable by his co-founder, Henry. But as we all know, that was not the case until much later.
On the other hand, Michael went directly out into the field, into those haunted places, and confronted horror itself to piece together the truth. When he did arrive at the truth and realized what he must do, he did it gracefully, giving his life not once but twice in the process.