Fans of Bethesda’s popular, post-apocalyptic RPG series Fallout were last summer excited to learn that Amazon were teaming up with the game’s creators, including Todd Howard, and Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, to develop an Amazon Prime original TV series adaptation of the Fallout franchise.
With the ongoing global situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, production of plenty of TV and film has been hit fairly hard and in a lot of cases production has been halted or at least delayed by several months.
Given that the development of the Fallout adaptation was still in its’ infancy when the teaser was released in the summer, I think it’s unlikely we’ll be shown any progress until much later this year at the earliest, and I’d be surprised if the show eventually hit the streaming platform before 2023.
Theories around the potential contents of the show have been few and far between that I’ve found, and so I’ve found myself speculating to myself as to what could be involved in the narrative of the programme.
*Spoiler warning – if, for some reason, you’re a fan of the series but aren’t familiar with the various plotlines, there will probably be some spoilers ahead.
First, I thought of the main narrative from the franchise’s most recent instalment (if we gloss over the haphazard release of Fallout 76, Bethesda’s sloppy experiment with an MMORPG set in that universe), Fallout 4’s main plotline; Cryogenically frozen family, child stolen, surviving parent sets out across the wasteland to find them, yada-yada-yada.
This might be difficult to adapt to television, though. In the video game, the goal of saving Shaun from the Institute becomes secondary, if not tertiary to other plots and goals in the game. This is hardly new for RPGs, though (remember how there was that whole civil war thing going on in Skyrim that seemed to be looming for a decade while the Dragonborn saw off Alduin and went about getting into the real estate market?).
I just think that, while the story itself could work in a series, it may be difficult to introduce the other factions (Minutemen, Railroad, Brotherhood of Steel etc) and have significant interactions with them, without the whole “missing son” distraction falling by the wayside, much like it did for a lot of players of the game. There are factions in all iterations of Fallout of course, but the primary purpose of the factions in 4 were to play a role in assisting the sole survivor in locating Shaun.
I personally think a basis of New Vegas would be ideal to produce a TV show. The emptier landscape of the Mojave Desert best suiting a bleaker tone and given Nolan and Joy’s work on Westworld, it’s easy to imagine the landscape visuals they could bring to the screen.
The plotline and settings I think would work brilliantly, from the opening scene with Benny in the hillside cemetery at Goodsprings, to the corrupt and depraved streets of the New Vegas strip, to the reveal of the original plot’s tie-ins to the larger battle between the NCR and Caesar’s Legion for Hoover Dam (potential season 2 material?).
Speaking of Benny, many fans will know that actor and producer Matthew Perry, of Friends fame, voiced the smooth-talking antagonist in New Vegas, and that he himself is a self-professed fan of the series. It would be wonderful to see him take on the role of Benny in a live-action reproduction.
Now we’re on the subject of casting, I think it goes without saying that all fans of the franchise would be disappointed to not see Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) appear in some capacity. The man that has leant his voice to perhaps the most famous line of the series, say it with me; “War. War never changes.” could appear in a narration capacity, although that might be a waste of his acting talents.
Other familiar faces (or voices) it would be good fun to see attached to the project include Dave Fennoy, whose voice work in video games is well known from playing Lee Everett and Bluebeard in Telltale’s The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us series respectively, as well as several characters in the Fallout universe including Jed Masterson (New Vegas: Honest Hearts) and Malcolm Latimer (4).
I’d also like to see Felicia Day appear in the show. A fan of the series and a brilliantly entertaining performer, Day has appeared less on TV in recent years after developing an online presence but does have significant small-screen experience from roles such as Charlie on the CW’s Supernatural, among others. Day voiced Veronica in New Vegas and it would be excellent to see her reprise that role or give life to another.
Michael Dorn could be another familiar face. Having voiced Marcus, a peaceful Super Mutant in New Vegas, his voice would be well known to fans. A Super Mutant character/aspect of the main plot would be interesting, and Dorn would certainly be used to acting under heavy prosthetics from his years playing Commander Worf in Star Trek.
Of course, I’m just speculating with all this and only time will tell what the future holds for the content of this production. After popular adaptations of video games have hit the small screen in recent years (see Netflix’s The Witcher and Castlevania), we’re left with pretty high hopes for what might be in store.