While there’s been plenty of movies, books, and comics set in post-apocalyptic worlds, few have been as unique as those in the numerous ’50s-flavored Fallout games. Now, Prime Video is planning to bring that unique perspective to television, and with some help from people who made the games. And while we don’t much about the show yet, what we have learned makes us excited to wander the wasteland again.
The world of the Fallout games is one in which the art-deco style of the 1950s persisted, even as we developed robots and nuclear-powered cars. But so did the atomic bombs, as the world learns first hand when a nuclear war decimates the planet in 2077. Good thing people in the ’50s were also big on bomb shelters, which is how some people managed to survive in underground shelters called Vaults.
In most of the games, it’s been many years since the bombs dropped; 25 to 200, depending on the game. What remains of the world is a wasteland full of mutants, giant insects, zombie-like ghouls, and other irradiated wildlife. But there are also some regular people, including a widespread military organization called The Brotherhood of Steel whose members wear suits of armor similar to what Tony Stark built in the first Iron Man movie.
The Fallout show will be set in Los Angeles, around the same time as the games, Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard — the game director of Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, and the executive producer of Fallout 76 and Fallout Shelter — revealed at the Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany, on August 23. Howard did not specify, however, which game the show is concurrent to (Fallout 76 is set 25 years after the bombs dropped, while Fallout 4 is set 185 years after that) or if it takes place at the same time as the original Fallout, which he did not work on.
Howard also showed off footage from the show, including the moment when the nukes landed in L.A., though that footage has not been (officially) released — yet.
For the Fallout TV show, Amazon Studios has employed the team of Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, who you may know from their work on HBO’s Westworld. The two will be writing and executive producing the series through their company, Kilter Films — the same roles they had on Westworld. At Gamescom, Howard also announced that Nolan had directed the first three episodes of the show. Joining them is fellow executive producer Athena Wickham, who is also an executive producer on Westworld, and a fellow Kilter employee.
The writing staff of the Fallout show also includes Geneva Robertson-Dworet (who co-wrote Captain Marvel) and Graham Wagner (a writer and executive producer on Portlandia), who will serve as executive producers and co-showrunners.
As for names familiar to fans of the games, the Fallout series will also be executive produced by Todd Howard, who was the game director on Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, and the executive producer on Fallout 76 and the mobile spin-off Fallout Shelter, as well as James Altman, who is the director of publishing operations for Bethesda Softworks, the company that publishes the Fallout games.
In a joint statement by Joy and Nolan issued when they announced the show, they said, “Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time. Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. So we’re incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios.”
As for the production, it will be handled by Kilter, Bethesda Softworks (who are new to TV), Bethesda Game Studios (also new to TV production), and Amazon Studios, whose TV credits include their own shows The Boys and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as HBO’s Euphoria.
The series stars Ella Purnell (Yellowjackets), Walton Goggins (Justified), and Aaron Moten (Emancipation). Ella Purnell plays “Lucy,” an optimistic Vault Dweller with an all-American, can-do spirit. Her peaceful and idealistic nature is tested when people harm her loved ones. Aaron Moten plays “Maximus,” a young soldier who hides his tragic past as he serves in the Brotherhood of Steel. He believes in the nobility of the Brotherhood’s mission to bring law and order to the Wasteland—and will do anything to further their goals. Walton Goggins plays “The Ghoul.” The pragmatic, ruthless Ghoul survives the Wasteland as a bounty hunter, hiding a mysterious past.
We also know Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) plays “Overseer Hank.” Hank is the Overseer of Vault 33 and Lucy’s father, eager to change the world for the better. Other cast members include Johnny Pemberton (21 Jump Street) as Thaddeus, Rodrigo Luzzi (Dead Ringers) as Reg, Annabel O’Hagan (Law & Order: SVU) as Steph, and Moisés Arias (The King of Staten Island) as Norm. We don’t know who Thaddeus or Norm are—they could be people, they could be mutants…
Sarita Choudhury (Homeland), Michael Emerson (Person of Interest), Leslie Uggams (Deadpool), Frances Turner (The Boys), Dave Register (Heightened), Zach Cherry (Severance), and Xelia Mendes-Jones (The Wheel of Time) are also on the call sheet, but we don’t yet know who they play.
There’s no word if Keith David (They Live), Clancy Brown (Billions), CCH Pounder (NCIS: New Orleans), or any of the other notable cast members from the first game, the one set in L.A., will be reprising their roles.
But the real question for fans of the games is whether or not they’ll get Ron Perlman, who’s been the narrator in nearly every Fallout game going back to the 1997 original, to welcome people to the series, or maybe even every episode, with his iconic opening line, “War… War never changes.”
Fallout is slated to premiere on Prime Video on Friday, April 12, 2024. Which is probably a year, maybe even 2, before we’ll see the next game, Fallout 5. About which we know even less.
The review embargo for the Fallout series has not yet been announced. The series will receive a Tomatometer score once it has at least five reviews.