7 things Fallout TV show first-look images don't tell you about the Prime Video series

A silhouetted Lucy emerges from Vault 33 in Prime Video's Fallout TV show
Amazon's Fallout TV series emerges from its vault in April 2024. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Finally, after months of waiting, we've been given a glimpse into the world of Prime Video's Fallout TV show.

That's right, Amazon has released a bunch of first-look images from its Fallout TV series – and, we don't know about you, but we're loving how faithful it's being towards Bethesda's iconic video game franchise of the same name.

Long-time fans of the post-apocalyptic action role-playing games have been poring over the stills to see what they can learn about the Fallout TV show since they were released online. However, in some cases, Fallout diehards are just as in the dark – over some elements, anyway – as those with little to no knowledge of the game series.

With that in mind, we've run a fine-tooth comb over Amazon's first-look images, with a little help from a Fallout TV show press release and Vanity Fair cover story, to work out (or speculate on) what we know about the show. So, throw on your Vault jumpsuit, grab your Pip-boy, and let's dive in.

A recognizable narrative

Four members of the Brotherhood of Steel walk towards the camera in the Fallout TV show

Amazon's Fallout TV show is set within the world of Bethesda Softworks' iconic franchise. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Before we look at the images themselves, what's the Fallout TV show actually about?

Per Amazon Studios' press release, its plot synopsis reads as follows: "Based on one of the greatest video game series of all time, Fallout is the story of haves and have-nots in a world in which there’s almost nothing left to have. 

"200 years after the apocalypse, the gentle denizens of luxury fallout shelters are forced to return to the irradiated hellscape their ancestors left behind – and are shocked to discover an incredibly complex, gleefully weird, and highly violent universe waiting for them."

Diehard fans hoping for similar genre fare to the games, then, will be pleased to hear that the Prime Video show's story will be comparable to those seen in the games on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as PC. 

That 'new story' angle was crucial in gaining Bethesda Game Studios' director Todd Howard's approval to create the series, too. "I did not want to do an interpretation of an existing story we did," he told Vanity Fair. "That was the other thing – a lot of pitches were ‘This is the movie of Fallout 3’ [and] I was like ‘Yeah, we told that story.’ I don’t have a lot of interest seeing those translated. I was interested in someone telling a unique Fallout story."

California dreamin'

Lucy emerges from Vault 33 with her right hand raised in Amazon's Fallout TV show

Lucy, the Fallout TV show's primary protagonist, lives a sheltered life in Los Angeles (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Until recently, established fans and newcomers had no idea when and where Amazon's Fallout TV show would be set. 

However, after an image – posted on Prime Video's official Instagram account in August – revealed that its story will take place in Los Angeles, Vanity Fair's article reconfed its location yesterday (November 28). Indeed, the image of Ella Purnell's Lucy – more on her shortly – looking out onto a junkyard is located in an area known as 'Philly', which houses survivors who have nowhere else to live on the Wasteland, the name attributed to Earth's post-nuclear environment in the Fallout series.

As for the year the series takes place in, it's set 219 years after 2077 – the year when nuclear war broke out in Bethesda's fictional universe – meaning Amazon's Fallout series will begin in 2296.

A colorful cast of characters

Lucy and Hank share a joke as they look at a computer screen in the Fallout TV show

Ella Purnell and Kyle MacLachlan play Lucy and Hank in the show (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

As mentioned, Purnell – viewers might recognize her from Netflix projects including Army of the Dead and Arcane, plus hit Paramount Plus show Yellowjackets – will play Lucy, the series' main protagonist. She's described as "an optimistic Vault Dweller with an all-American can-do spirit. Her peaceful and idealistic nature is tested when people harm her loved ones". Vanity Fair also confirms Lucy to be a "nice but naive" individual whose utopian values are questioned when she's forced to leave the safety of Vault 33 and embark on a rescue mission.

But Arcane season 2 voice actor Purnell isn't the only big name attached to the series. Check out the so-far confirmed cast list below for more details on which other big stars are set to play prominent roles:

  • Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) as Hank. As the Overseer of Vault 33 and Lucy’s father, Hank aims to protect his daughter at all costs while also changing the world for the better.
  • Walton Goggins (Invincible, Ant-Man 2) as The Ghoul. A bounty hunter with a mysterious past, this pragmatic and ruthless individual who, per Vanity Fair's article, was a man formally known as Cooper Howard. He's believed to be hundreds of years old and, unlike its game series namesake, The Ghoul isn't a mindless zombie-like creature in Fallout's TV adaptation. 
  • Aaron Moten (Emancipation) as Maximus. A member of Fallout's iconic military faction called the Brotherhood of Steel. Maximus hides his tragic backstory after buying into the Brotherhood's seemingly noble mission to bring law and order to the Wasteland, and it'll be interesting to see if his views continue to align with the armed group as the season progresses.
  • Michael Emerson (Lost) as Wilzig. An enigmatic researcher who lives above ground. 

Gun for hire

The Ghoul sits slumped in a chair with his cowboy hat lowered over his face in the Fallout TV show

This is one ghoul we're not used to seeing in the Fallout franchise. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Fallout fans will know all about the franchise's iconic ghoul enemies. As mentioned, in the games, they're humans who have been turned into zombie-like creatures by gamma radiation that polluted the world during the nuclear conflict, otherwise known as the Great War.

However, not all ghouls are vicious, brainless beings. There are intelligent (albeit hostile) versions of these mutated individuals in the games, which the TV series appears to be taking inspiration from for The Ghoul. In fact, Vanity Fair revealed that Amazon has positioned Goggins' character as the tritagonist – alongside Lucy and Maximus – in Fallout, confirming he'll have a big role to play throughout.

"There is a chasm in time and distance between who this guy was and who he’s become," co-developer, director, and executive producer Jonathan Nolan (Westworld, The Dark Knight) told the outlet. "For me [that] creates an enormous dramatic question: What happened to this guy? So we’ll walk backwards into that. He becomes our guide and our protagonist in that [older] world, even as we understand him to be the antagonist at the end of the world."

Steel-ing the show

Maximus walks alongside his Brotherhood of Steel master in Amazon's Fallout TV show

The Brotherhood of Steel are one of Fallout's most iconic factions (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

No Fallout adaptation would be complete without the aforementioned Brotherhood of Steel, of which Maximus is a part. For those unfamiliar with the games, Nolan likens the group to a fusion of "the Marine Corps... [and] a little bit of the Knights Templar", which should go some way to *ahem* reinforcing the idea of what they represent.

Long-time fans will know there's a moral complexity to the Brotherhood, whose hard-line approach to delivering justice on the Wasteland can be viewed as heroic or immoral, depending on who you ask. As Nolan told Vanity Fair: "One of the things we're trying to gently sidestep here is that kind of binary thinking, like, 'They’re the good guys or the bad guys'. Whoever the good guys and the bad guys were, they destroyed the whole world. So now we’re in a much more gray area.”

Staying faithful to the games

Jonathan Nolan poses with Ella Purnell on the set of Amazon's Fallout TV show

Amazon's Fallout series is largely remaining faithful to the games it's based on (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Fallout's TV adaptation will take some creative liberties with its source material – more on this in a second – but it appears to be sticking closely to the lore and world-building that's already been established by Bethesda.

Indeed, a quick glance at the first-look images prove as much. From the true-to-life blue and yellow Vault jumpsuits (complete with Pip-Boy wrist devices) and the Brotherhood of Steel's perfectly replicated Power Armor, to its retrofuturisic aesthetic and expansive but barren locations, the Prime Video series is going all-out to appease both Bethesda and the franchise's devote fanbase.

Just as important, however, is the TV show's canonicity within the wider Fallout universe. "We view what’s happening in the show as canon," Howard explained, so expect events in the TV series to be impacted by what's occurred in the games – and, hopefully, influence events in future Fallout games.

Changing of the guard

Some humans look up at the Caswennan ship in Fallout's TV adaptation

Fallout's TV adaptation appears to make some changes to the franchise that have confused fans (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Of course, this being a live-action adaptation, Amazon's TV show will seemingly deviate from and/or tweak aspects of Fallout lore.

One of the biggest sticking points appears to be the Brotherhood of Steel's appearance. In the games, the Brotherhood don't have a sizeable presence on the US West coast, especially in New California, which is where the show is set. The dominant group in New California – in the video game series, anyway – is the creatively titled New California Republic (NCR). However, given the Brotherhood's presence in the Fallout TV show, many fans are worried that the NCR might not show up that much (if at all) in Amazon's take on the source material.

Another supposedly big change is the name given to the Brotherhood's airship. The group's aerial base of operations is known as the Prydwen in Fallout 4, but it seems to have been given a new title – the Caswennan – in the TV series. Of course, the Caswennan might just be a different vessel that the Brotherhood uses – after all, the Fallout TV show is set nine years after the events of Fallout 4, which took place in 2287. Even so, if the Caswennan ends up being a revised version of the Prydwen, fans might not take too kindly to the unnecessary change.

Curiously, Fallout's Vault Boy – the franchise's smiling, thumbs-up-toting mascot – is also getting an origin story of sorts in the TV show. Amazon and Bethesda aren't spoiling that plot thread ahead of release, but Howard was able to tease this: "That was something that they [Nolan and wife/co-developer Lisa Joy] came up with that’s just really smart". Color us intrigued.

Fallout debuts on Prime Video worldwide on April 12, 2024.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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