Everything We Learned From The Latest Fallout Trailer

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A shot of Ella Purnell as Lucy looking out at the wasteland from Amazon's Fallout series.

It’s the end of the world as we know it in the latest trailer for Amazon’s hotly anticipated TV adaptation of the Fallout video game series. Developed by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (the duo responsible for HBO’s Westworld), the show will follow vault dweller Lucy (Ella Purnell) as she makes her way out of her underground confines and into the wasteland above. The games have taken place all across America, including locales such as Washington D.C, Boston, and West Virginia, but the show is sticking close to the previously explored region of the Mojave Desert and expanding into Los Angeles.

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Walton Goggins also stars as The Ghoul, who the trailer indicates has been around for a very long time. In contrast to Lucy’s bright-eyed naivete, he seems keen to the ways of the wasteland, haunted by his past, and weary of the state of things. They’ll make for an unlikely pair, but I reckon they’ll need each other’s help as they navigate L.A., the treacherous mutants that run amok there, and the various warring factions that currently occupy the region. Honestly, it surprises me how effectively this trailer sold me on the idea of a Fallout show, but I guess I’ll be seated and tuning in when it premieres on Amazon on April 11.

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Fallout begins as it always does: with a nuke. This flashback seems to play from the perspective of Walton Goggins’ character, who evidently predates the bombs dropping and is still alive 200 years later during the show. That’s a long time to watch the world crumble.

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Fallout is as known for its retrofuturistic aesthetics as it is its mutated monsters, but this trailer holds off on showing us too many of them. There seems to be a moment in which Lucy squashes a radroach, and an incredibly funny moment in which someone in Power Armor boxes a Yao Guai (think mutated black bear), but this is the clearest shot we get of any of them, and it looks like a particularly fucked-up Gulper. Just look at the teeth on that thing. Or the tendrils. The hands are what really haunt me for some reason.

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The opening shots feature a decidedly un-mutated Walton Goggins delivering a monologue, seemingly on behalf of Vault-Tec, about the value of their products. It seems pretty clear from this shot and a later one that before the bombs dropped, Goggins’ character (then probably known as Cooper Howard) made a living as an actor and worked with the company responsible for all the vaults our dwellers emerge from.

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It’s also likely that this was a specialized ad for the residents in and around The Ghoul’s area, which later appears to be confirmed as L.A. via a flashback. All signs point to Vault 4, as you can see from the door, being the closest vault, and the one where our story will pick up with Lucy some 200 years later.

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It looks like Vault-Boy bobbleheads may haunt viewers just as much as they haunt players of the games. This isn’t the only one we see in this trailer, but it’s clearest shot we see of these mass-produced tchotchkes. Look how damn good it looks though! The production seen throughout the trailer is top-notch, and this little detail is one of the surest signs that they knocked it out of the park in terms of adapting a lot of the series’ hallmark images.

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Our first look at Kyle McLachlan as Lucy’s father, Hank. Hank is the overseer of their vault, which explains his central positioning here and how he seems to be delegating work rather than actually doing it himself. The vault seems to be getting ready for a banquet or some sort of reception. It seems peaceful and idyllic in there. Let’s hope it stays that way.

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Another one of the series’ famous images is the “Please stand by” screen, which the trailer makes sure to include prominently as the world is beginning to fall apart.

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The show (or at least significant portions of it) is taking place in L.A., and in case you missed that fun fact, the trailer makes sure to remind you a number of times. Here’s one of the earliest, featuring the tattered ruins of what’s most likely Santa Monica Pier. Given that it’s been about 200 years since a nuclear war tore this place apart when the show’s started, it’s actually no small miracle that the boardwalk has lasted this long.

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Fallout games love to begin with your character escaping the vault. Many games since have tried and failed to recapture the feeling of the first time Fallout 3 players step out of the vault’s relative darkness and into the sun-and-radiation-drenched wasteland. It makes sense, then, that the show might feel obligated to honor the tradition with its own vault door sequence. However, there are a few surprising tidbits here. First is the fact that a fellow vault dweller seems to be helping Lucy escape! Hooray for friends, honestly. Second is that they may be helping with a bit more than the door, given the laid-out and possibly dead body at Lucy’s feet. I take it that this journey was perhaps not entirely approved.

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Vault dwellers seem like a rarity in the wasteland, but they’re at least impossible to miss in their eyesore of a get up. Here we have Lucy talking to an older lady above ground who jokes that she thought all the vault dwellers were dead. After all, it has been 200 years, and something tells me the Vault 4 folks have been mostly chilling down there.

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Here’s Walton Goggins looking decidedly more mutated than he did in that Vault-Tec commercial, though if I’m being honest I’m kind of here for the whole “Ghoul, but make it Indy” look that he’s got going. At the very least, he’s the best-dressed ghoul this side of the wasteland. Importantly, he’s not an entirely nice guy, as he seems to be sticking this massive piece right in Lucy’s face. What a meet-cute!

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Before the apocalypse, Mr. Handy was a line of floating multipurpose robots that often helped around the house. Quite a few managed to survive or be repaired and have taken on a new direction in life, like this Mr. Handy that threatens to harvest Lucy’s organs. Again, a lot of the show’s iconography, aesthetics, and character designs seem expertly recreated from the games, including this guy. Hats off to the VFX artists who made this work, and to the inimitable Matt Berry for providing his voice.

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Everyone say hello to Maximus, Fallout’s third lead and one who offers a particularly necessary perspective, since he’s a member of the Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood has a long history in the games, frequently serving as villains due to their standing as the closest thing to a working military that’s left in America. Unafraid to equip a Power Armor and rip into anything that stands in their way, they’re kind of the fascists of the new world, and one of the most powerful organizations in the wasteland.

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I can’t stop pointing out how damn good this show looks! This shot of Maximus in his Power Armor is the best close-up that the trailer gives us and it’s pretty great. Looking it over, I’d guess this is probably closest to the T-60 variants seen through most of the modern games, including Fallout 4 and Fallout 76.

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More establishing shots that make it clear the show is taking place in Los Angeles. Here we see the Griffith Observatory, which seems to have held up pretty well over the centuries, and a camp that’s been built around it. In the sky above, we can see of a bunch of carriers, which are likely ferrying the Brotherhood of Steel here to fight with whoever’s set up camp. Speaking of which…

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We’ve got action, folks! There’s a ton going on here, so let’s get into it. First, if it wasn’t clear that earlier shot was in fact Griffith Observatory, there’s a sign behind the Power Armor here that says as much. Second, the figure in Power Armor is facing off against someone who seems noticeably underpowered for this fight. Behind them are even more forces in similarly tattered military get-up and weaponry. The thing to particularly note here is the one person carrying a flag. Though it’s harder to see in this image, the full trailer shows that the flag is indeed that of the New California Republic, otherwise known as the NCR, one of the factions in Obsidian Entertainment’s beloved installment, Fallout: New Vegas.

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It seems likely that the NCR and the Brotherhood of Steel are going to be the primary factions facing off in the first season of Fallout. What’s currently unclear, and will presumably be revealed in the show, is why they’re fighting, and specifically over this land. Knowing how the Brotherhood of Steel operates, it’s probably not far off to conclude there’s something in or underneath Griffith Observatory that the NCR is protecting from them.

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We finally get an honest-to-goodness shot of the L.A. skyline in this scene from the trailer. Lucy and Maximus, who seem to be allies here, approach what appears to be the site where the nuke hit the city and reduced it to rubble. There’s likely no good reason to climb into that hole, though, so I’d suggest they go around unless they want to use some Rad-Away to fight that radiation poisoning.

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Another peek at life in the vaults, this time showing off more of the aesthetic we’re used to seeing from the games: sterile gray hallways with the familiar blue-and-yellow color scheme. I don’t know, I think I might understand someone trying to escape the monotony of this.

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I told you we weren’t done with the Vault-Boys in this trailer! But the thing to note here is the absurdly accurate Stimpak to the left. Stimpaks are healing items in the Fallout games and the show could’ve done away with them, since we don’t need to watch characters in a show heal. But there it is, a biblically accurate Stimpak.

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This shot of The Ghoul and his dog companion (please be named Dogmeat) seems pretty far outside the city, though you can make out a skyline in the distance. The Ghoul strikes me as a drifter who’s been all over, so I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if this is part of a sequence explaining some time he spent in the Mojave wasteland featured in New Vegas.

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Lucy looks absolutely terrified to have shot The Ghoul with an ineffective tranquilizer dart here and Wilzig (Michael Emerson) seems like he could use some medical attention for that bloodied leg, but the real star here is the sign in the center. “We trade caps only.” Caps, for those who might not know, are literal bottle caps and the basis for the economy in the fiction of Fallout. Glad to see that’s still true for the show.

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A thing to understand about Vault-Tec: the vaults they promised would keep people safe through the apocalypse were also a ploy for the company to find willing lab rats on which to conduct fucked-up experiments. Some of these are truly awful, others are kind of hilarious. Almost every vault has some story like these, and it seems like we’re going to see what horrible happenings are going on in Vault 4 this season.

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This appears to be the leader of the NCR, or at least this branch of it in L.A. We don’t know their name yet, but they’re played by Sarita Choudury and seem to mean business. This is also the first character we see with a laser pistol, whereas most other characters have more traditional weaponry.

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Though Lucy seems to escape from Vault 4 pretty early on, the show will likely show snippets of her life there that aren’t so harrowing, like this one of her and and a fellow dweller (Annabel O’Hagan) doing some repairs. Considering how noticeably pregnant her friend is, it’s more than likely this scene (and lots of scenes from the vault) will play into Fallout’s trademark dark humor.

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Just look at it! The assault rifle they’re carrying is also pretty accurate to models that you’d find in the games. The artists on this show obviously did their homework.

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And that’s everything we got from the Fallout trailer. Now if you’re anything like me, you’re going to queue it back up, appreciate how they reworked The Ink Spots’ “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire,” and rewatch it a dozen more times. Once you do, come back and tell us what you all picked up from the trailer that we might’ve missed.

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