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Howdy to all the vault dwellers coming up for air and exciting news about the new Fallout series on Prime Video. For starters, we have a rapidly approaching release date of April 11, 2024 (and all 8 episodes drop simultaneously!). There’s some cool stuff to ponder in the days leading up to this incredibly exciting video game adaptation release on the Prime Video streaming service. So take a sip from your trusty Vault 13 canteen and follow me through for a closer look at the new Fallout series, and what we know about it so far!

(Update 4/10/2024: here’s my review of Prime Video’s Fallout series!)

Fallout as a game adaptation has the right stuff to work

To begin with, yes, these events will be canon to the mainline series and Todd Howard (Bethesda Game Studios) confirmed this. I’m fascinated by the placement on the timeline, since we get the most pivotal event in 2077, the fall of nuclear bombs across the United States. This attack was against major cities such as Washington, Los Angeles, and Boston. Then there is a 219-year fast-forward, bringing us to 2296 and placing us behind Fallout 3 and Fallout 4

For those who have not played the games, there is no singular ending. Rather, depending on the choices made and which faction you align with, you will get different ending narrations of what has come to be of the Capital Wasteland or the Commonwealth.

Transforming the role-playing aspect of Fallout as an adaptation to screen will be interesting for newcomers to the franchise. In this post-apocalyptic hellscape, there are irradiated animals that are monstrous in size, competing (cult-like) factions, Super mutants, ghouls, and raiders to contend with. 

Unlike some other recent video game adaptations (see The Last of Us, Halo, Uncharted, The Super Mario Bros. Movie) with linear storylines, Fallout is an adventure dictated by the player’s choices. Also, the protagonists for each of those stories rotated.

In Fallout 3 you’re the Lone Wanderer from Vault 101 venturing through The Capital Wasteland (Washington DC). Fallout: New Vegas has you playing a Courier who was shot in the head before you take control. Fallout 4 leaves you as the Sole Survivor from Vault 111, who wakes up after being cryo-freezed right as the bombs hit Boston. The older titles had you coming out of Vault 13 in the New California Republic territory that spanned a sizable portion of some West Coast states and other regions (California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona).

The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) in Fallout
The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) in Fallout (Prime Video)

Now that you get the general gist of the Fallout world, let’s dive into it a little more. It’s very much an exploration game, with many popular landmarks turned into a fascinating hellion environment (Boston Square and The Pentagon to name a couple).

Set photos show that we are potentially going to see all of it, with a New California Republic flag spotted and a Red Rocket fueling station. You may recall some filming in Utah, and the images with Walton Goggins’ Ghoul character show a saloon in the background. 

The main characters: Lucy, Ghoul, and Maximus

The lead characters so far are being presented as Lucy (played by Ella Purnell) who is the one that rises from the vault out into the outside world. I already mentioned Walton Goggins’ Ghoul, but it is stated he is a bounty hunter. Maximus (Aaron Moten) is seen standing next to a gorgeous suit of Power Armor, armed with a heavy-duty minigun. 

Ella Purnell (Lucy) in “Fallout”
Lucy (Ella Purnell) in Fallout (Prime Video)

Based on each affiliation (Vault Dwellers, Ghouls, Brotherhood of Steel) these seem to be our major players in Fallout. I think this is a great variety, as we should be shifting between the stories and potentially seeing them intertwine into a larger story beat. Also, they were chosen because they are among the most recognizable representations of the universe itself. The naivety of a vault dweller, the determination of a Brotherhood of Steel member, and the savagery of Ghoulification from radiation (not to mention being alive for 200 years). 

I’m a massive fan of Walton Goggins, he’s in a couple of my favorite television series (The Righteous Gemstones and Invincible) and is constantly a stand-out in whatever he is in. I’m extremely excited to see him take on a Ghoul, and my joy is overshot by the incredible look they gave him.

Fallout games don’t have the most amazing graphics, but this gnarly take on the irradiated folks is quite awesome. I speculate his human character was an actor due to the promotional materials they keep using of him. He was likely promised a spot in a Vault but probably wasn’t able to enter it in time, as seen in the trailer where he’s riding horseback while the blast impacts downtown Los Angeles.

What is the big deal in the Fallout series anyway?

A Vanity Fair article mentions a quote from Jonathan Nolan that at least gives a little insight as to what the big deal in the Fallout series could be: “Most of the disparate parties are “chasing an artifact that has the potential to radically change the power dynamic in this world,” as Nolan puts it.”

If you’ve played Fallout 3 you’ll remember that something similar happens with the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) needed to purify the water in the Capital Wasteland. There’s also the tussle over a Platinum Chip in Fallout: New Vegas that holds an upgrade for the Securitron Operating System that enhanced their combat capabilities. I’m leaning towards it being the former, but calling it an “artifact” has me second-guessing myself. 

What “artifact” they could be chasing that would change power dynamics is beyond me. No single item seems that powerful from my knowledge of the universe, but, in Fallout: New Vegas we again learned the value of water. The primary scuffle was over the resources provided by the Hoover Dam which gave power over the region literally and figuratively.

MacGuffins are popular in post-apocalyptic media as the “thing” to either improve life for the owner or allow them to diminish the lives of others. Since these tend to be factions fighting one another, it’s most likely some component of a G.E.C.K. or power source. I’m led to this train of thought because Lucy seems to be on a mission to get something for, or back to, Vault 33.

Power Suit and Aaron Moten (Maximus) in “Fallout”
Power Suit and Maximus (Aaron Moten) in Fallout (Prime Video)

As far as what we do know about Fallout, we have names, a number for a vault (33! which would be considered new since we’ve never seen mentions of it in any games), and the instantly recognizable mascot, Vault Boy. We finally get a backstory for the Vault Boy’s origins and his two famous thumbs, it’s been described as clever by Bethesda Game Studios’ own Todd Howard.

Above the Vault, Michael Emerson will portray a new character named Wilzig who is a researcher. My guess is: He works for the Brotherhood of Steel, as they would be the most likely to have the resources and need for him to conduct experiments.

The Caswennan, an airship, can be spotted floating above a group of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers. I find this one a bit confusing as getting an airship of that size, to function, requires many spare parts. It’s like finding a holy grail, twice. The Prydwen made an appearance in Fallout 4, which was quite memorable, so I guess they’re trying to get that cinematic shot again. 

What I want to see in Prime Video’s Fallout series

If there’s one thing I truly enjoy about Fallout as a universe it’s the humor and the darkness it has. I eagerly await to see how many silly things get thrown into the mix in between brutal western-inspired shootouts and radroach-infested campfire moments.

I feel as if there’s a chance for a stunning cameo from a known entity. My bets are on a form of “Artificial Intelligence” being the puppet master. After all, we had President John Henry Eden (Fallout 3 and voiced by the illustrious Malcolm McDowell) and Mr. House (Fallout: New Vegas, voiced by René Auberjonois) who were both influences in their respective plots. 

Some of what I want to see in the Fallout series would be the assembly of an N99 pistol or a Raider taking some Chems (slang for drugs that alter your skills and stats in the game). I don’t necessarily want or need any cameos, and with the designation of canon to the games, it doesn’t matter to me if I see anyone anyway.

I’ve always wanted to explore more of Pre-War Fallout, and this show seems to be giving us a good window into the life of Goggin’s human character before becoming a Ghoul. I know it’s a bit of a far shot, but any sort of acknowledgment or use of the famous V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System), which is a core mechanic of the franchise, would be nice.

Since Lucy is walking around with a hunky Pip-Boy on her arm, they could incorporate the interface to guide her on where to shoot an enemy. While I have the Pip-boy in mind, maybe, just maybe, we get to hear one of the radio stations that wonderfully highlighted the adventures of the Lone Wanderer and The Courier. 

The full trailer that was released did include something that should be known to all Fallout fans, The Ink Spots. Music is another staple of the series, as pop culture took a pause and leaned into the retro-futuristic styles that were inspired by the reliance on nuclear energy. If anything can describe this universe, “I Don’t Want to Set The World On Fire” has forever been its anthem.

Hearing the Geiger Counter rattle off inspired huge amounts of confidence that can be highly appreciated for its dedication to accuracy. I never finished Westworld, but I’ll never forget how impactful that first season was, and I have full faith in Nolan and the rest of the team to bring one of my favorite franchises to life.

Have you watched the Fallout trailers yet? Are you as excited as we are to see Vault 33? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus and join our official Cosmic Circus Discord server to discuss the series when it releases on April 11th, 2024 on Prime Video!

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Anthony Flagg

Howdy! I cover a variety of topics for The Cosmic Circus. My favorite topics to write about are video games, Pokemon and music. Drop me a line on Twitter! @redovah_

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