An Amazon Prime TV show based on the post-apocalyptic Fallout games was originally announced in 2020. Coming from the creative team behind HBO’s Westworld, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, little more was heard until 2022 when casting and filming information began to trickle through. With the show due to start streaming in just a couple of months, it’s a great time to put together everything we know so far.
Is Fallout in the same universe as the games?
The Fallout games, whether Interplay’s original CRPGs from the 1990s, or Bethesda’s reinvention of the series as first-person RPGs, have all been set in a post-apocalyptic North America. On October 23, 2077, China and the U.S. launched nuclear weapons, a nuclear war that ruined the world. Some surviving humans retreated to Vaults, large underground shelters, for the next 100 years, while others formed sects on the surface, scavenging to survive.
Each game takes place in a particular location, a varying number of years since the war. Fallout 1 was set in Southern California in 2161, while its sequel picked up the plot in 2241. Bethesda’s Fallout 3 took place in 2277’s Washington D.C., and the fourth game in Boston, 2287. It affords the series the chance to tell entirely different stories within the same fixed universe, and the TV show is going to slot right in with that.
Bethesda’s Todd Howard told Vanity Fair in November 2023, that the show was canonical with the games, set in the same universe, this time taking place in 2296.
What will the Fallout TV show be about?
Matching the opening of pretty much every game, Prime’s show will begin with a main character who has never left the confines of a fallout shelter. Lucy (Ella Purnell) has grown up in Vault 33, the daughter of the shelter’s overseer, having lived a life of relative privilege. However, due to reasons as yet unknown, Lucy must leave the shelter and explore the surface above—a place she quickly learns is hellish, populated by vast radroaches, mutated creatures, and the warring surface dwellers.
Nolan has described the show as being focused on this contrast of cultures, Lucy’s “collision with the hard reality of other people’s experiences and what happened to the people who, frankly, were left behind, left to die.”
As she explores, Lucy meets Maximus, a member of the Brotherhood of Steel, along with a bounty hunter called The Ghoul. And yes, he’s a member of the zombie-like group from the games, but one with a keenly working mind. All three are chasing the series’ mcguffin, an artifact that—according to Nolan—”has the potential to radically change the power dynamic in this world.”
Which actors appear in the Fallout TV show?
The cast is pretty splendid. Lucy is played by Ella Purnell, who has shone in Yellowjackets, while her overseer father is Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlan. Aaron Moten, who was brilliant in the dreadful Next, plays Maximus—the Brotherhood soldier who meets Lucy on the surface, who both then encounter the noseless The Ghoul, played by Justified and The Shield’s Walton Goggins.
Also known to be appearing are Moises Arias, Johnny Pemberton, Xelia Mendes-Jones and Lost’s Michael Emerson, among a vast cast. Oh, and SNL’s Chris Parnell is playing a cyclops.
What’s the tone of the show?
Given the severity of the setting, and perhaps thinking about the extremely straight-faced nature of Westworld, you could assume Amazon Prime’s show would opt for something unrelentingly gritty. However, the creators have been keen to stress that there’s a lot of humor in Fallout.
The same layers of irony that lie behind The Vault Boy and the inappropriately positive propaganda of the games’ vaults seems to have informed the tone of the program, with Howard telling Vanity Fair, “you need to weave in a little bit of a wink.” It’s also clear from the clips we’ve seen so far that the show isn’t afraid to be silly.
Is there a trailer?
There sure is, and it contains a bamboozling volley of moments from the show.
When can I watch Fallout?
The show is currently scheduled to debut on Amazon Prime April 12, 2024. It’s not yet known if Fallout will be available to binge-watch on that date, or if Prime will opt for a weekly (or otherwise) release schedule. Streaming networks have been experimenting with different release formats in recent months, making it anyone’s guess how they’ll handle any particular show.