Bethesda has just announced a Fallout TV series. Why not read on for some lore-based speculation on what it might be about!
When I woke up today, I wasn’t expecting to read the news that the popular games company Bethesda is making a Fallout TV series. But much like the excessive popularity of the musical ‘Hamilton’, it’s definitely a thing that happened and nobody can deny that.
I’ve played all of the Bethesda Fallout games to completion (yes even Fallout 76, sue me) and have immersed myself in the lore, so I thought to myself ‘Perhaps I can inform our dear readers of what they can possibly expect from a Fallout TV series by taking advantage of my vast amount of Fallout knowledge?’
OR SHOULD I SAY ‘MY V.A.T.S. AMOUNT OF FALLOUT KNOWLEDGE’?
No, I probably shouldn’t.
The point is, keep in mind that nobody has any answers yet – but here’s my take on it…
What will the new Fallout TV series be about?
According to the Bethesda website, the show (unsurprisingly titled ‘Fallout‘) will be produced by Amazon Studios in conjunction with a company called Kilter Films.
If you haven’t heard of Kilter Films before, don’t feel bad – I hadn’t either. But they produced the critically-acclaimed Westworld TV series, which I have heard of and so have you (even if it was when I told you about it just now.)
I haven’t seen Westworld myself, so let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“The story begins in Westworld, a fictional, technologically advanced Wild-West-themed amusement park populated by android ‘hosts’.” – Wikipedia
Interestingly, the Fallout game series also has androids. These androids are called ‘synths’ because that’s much cooler and quicker than saying ‘synthetic human’.
Much like the androids in Westworld, the third generation of Fallout synths (who are called Gen 3 synths for obvious reasons) are practically identical to humans. The first two generations of synths? Not so much.
In fact, that’s one of the moral issues raised by Fallout 4: Should Gen 3 synths be considered human?
The new Fallout TV series could feature The Railroad faction
One of the factions that the player can join (or oppose if so inclined) in Fallout 4 is called The Railroad, who are inspired by the real-life ‘Underground Railroad’.
The Underground Railroad was primarily concerned with helping African-American slaves escape captivity, usually to slave-friendly American states and sometimes out of the country entirely. It did this via a loosely-organised collection of safehouses and the passages that connected the safehouses. They also used a system of graffiti symbols to communicate with each other.
The passages weren’t actually underground, which is good because that means one of the most important groups in history doesn’t have a bad pun as their name.
Much like the modern-day hacktivist group Anonymous, the Underground Railroad was a decentralised group. This is similar to how putting a Guy Fawkes mask on and making a social or political statement automatically makes you a member of Anonymous.
In Fallout 4, The Railroad is analogous to the real-life Underground Railroad. They help escaped synths to survive, they use graffiti symbols to communicate – and so on.
At one point in the game, the player (if they joined The Railroad) has the choice of whether or not to erase a certain synths memory.
Why would a synth want to have their memory wiped?
Well, it’s not just for the heck of it, or even because it’s easier for them to act human if they think they’re human: It’s so that they can’t ever accidentally give away any info about The Railroad and other synths who are still in captivity but want to escape.
But it’s their choice if they want to get their mind wiped or not.
Well, apart from that one time where it isn’t their choice because the player has to also do things because it’s a game. The Fallout TV series won’t need to deal with that kind of thing, and can just get on with telling a good story.
Finally, a Fallout story that won’t let the gameplay get in the way! And as you can see, there’s plenty of room for moral-dilemma-style food for thought in the Fallout universe regarding synths.
I can just imagine all the philosophical Fallout articles now.
The new Fallout TV Series and Westworld might share themes
Given all of this, I’d very surprised if the Fallout TV series didn’t have a lot of thematic crossover with Westworld. It may deal with themes of slavery, emancipation, and the general idea of what it means to be human.
Of course, just because Kilter Films worked on Westworld doesn’t mean that the Fallout TV series will deal exclusively with synths, but I think it’s safe to assume that at least one main character will be a synth. Therefore, a lot of the main story just might be related to that.
It’s impossible to finish Fallout 4 without dealing with The Railroad one way or the other. You can join them or you can destroy them. But one thing you can’t do is ignore them. So I’m hoping the Fallout TV series won’t ignore them either.
The new Fallout TV Series and Westworld also might not share themes
But it might ignore The Railroad completely – depending on when it’s set. See, the Gen 3 synths didn’t come into existence until roughly 200 years after the nukes dropped on American soil.
Fallout 76, however, takes place a mere 20 years after the bombs dropped.
So ultimately, we can’t really get a better idea of what to expect until we find out what time period of the Fallout universe that the Fallout TV series will be set in. It might be 200 years after. It might be 20 years after. It might even be set before the bombs drop.
It could also be a time period not visited by any of the games yet, too.
Although my money’s on synths being a major part of the storyline, perhaps Kilter Films will do their best to avoid it so that they don’t become known as ‘that company that always makes TV shows about sentient humanoids’.
In any case, I’m really hoping that the show opens with Ron Pearlman saying ‘War – war never changes’.
Until the Fallout TV series arrives, how about a Nuka Break?
For those of you who aren’t already aware, there’s a live-action Fallout webseries called Fallout: Nuka Break, which was made by the awesome Wayside Creations (who go by Wayside Digital on their YouTube channel).
Sure, it’s not an official series but the production value and the writing are still of a pretty decent quality. The props are excellent and the cosplay is top-notch. It’s also perfectly cast and even features some fairly well-known actors, such as Doug Jones of Hellboy and Star Trek: Discovery fame.
Bethesda loved the series enough that they put a reference to it in Fallout: New Vegas, which Wayside Digital then used in the second season of Fallout: Nuka Break. The mind boggles! Or maybe yours doesn’t, I don’t know these things.
They’ve also got another Fallout-based miniseries on their YouTube channel, but in the spirit of the exploratory aspects of the Fallout universe – I’ll let you discover that one for yourself.
What do you think the new Fallout TV series will be about? Let us know in the comments!