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Prep the Pip-Boy! Amazon’s 'Fallout' series casts 'Ant-Man' baddie Walton Goggins

Bethesda’s game-to-TV crossover welcomes its first nuclear neighbor.

By Benjamin Bullard
Walton Goggins

The nuclear-blasted wasteland of Fallout has its first official TV resident. Amazon’s upcoming series adaptation of the iconic Bethesda game franchise has reportedly cast Justified’s Walton Goggins, via Deadline, marking the first of what’s sure to be many more casting pickups as the show heads toward a reported 2022 production start.

Official details on which Fallout character Goggins will portray are slight, though Deadline’s report notes that he’s “believed to be” playing a Ghoul. Marvel movie fans already have spied Goggins as the charming-but-sinister black market schemer Sonny Burch in 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, and he’s a current series regular on HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones.

If Goggins ends up playing a Ghoul, he'll be in good video game company: From Fallout 3’s Patches to Fallout 4’s Hancock and beyond, Ghouls have provided some of the game series’ biggest character highlights — both as comic relief and as scarred, post-human survivors with poignantly painful backstories.

In Fallout lore, Ghouls are skin-ravaged, emaciated characters who, for poorly-understood reasons, survived direct radiation exposure during the 20th Century global nuclear apocalypse that devastated the natural world and collapsed civilization. Their brush with the bomb has mutated them dramatically, all but freezing the aging process and mysteriously gifting them with beyond-human qualities, including a long lifespan and immunity to radiation (some, including the neon-green “Glowing One” Ghouls, are even strengthened by it).

Of course, those standout para-human traits carry a steep social cost in Fallout’s harsh, lawless world of wasteland survival. Most Ghouls in Fallout are feral, having lost their intellect as an effect of their nuclear near-miss, and few are able to think and function as they did during their pre-blast, human days. That makes even the minority of rational, sentient Ghouls social pariahs for tons of human wastelanders, who mark them as easy targets for abuse and politically-tainted scapegoats.

Amazon’s Fallout series has some heavy creative weight behind it: The show is a collaboration between Amazon Studios and Kilter Films — the studio headed by Westworld veterans Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. The series is being produced in association with Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks, with Bethesda creative sensei Todd Howard serving as an executive producer, alongside Nolan, Joy, and Athena Wickham.

Nolan himself is set to direct the premiere episode, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner serving as showrunners. There’s no early word on when Fallout will debut at Amazon, but the series is expected to enter production later this year.