You don’t have to be an avid player of the Fallout video game to love and appreciate Prime Video’s hit adaptation of it. In fact, the producers of the series created a world based on the game, but also independent of it.
“We knew right from the start that we didn’t want to copy exactly one of the stories from the video games,” said Geneva Robertson-Dworet, an executive producer and co-showrunner on Fallout, at a recent Academy of Television Arts and Sciences screening. “We knew we were going to craft our own story.”
Fallout is currently streaming on Prime Video, and the show has been a hit with viewers from all around the world, amassing 3 billion minutes viewed, according to Nielsen. We got the inside scoop on how the show came to life from stars Walton Goggins (the Ghoul/Cooper Howard), Ella Purnell (Lucy Maclean), Aaron Moten (Maximus), Kyle MacLachlan (Hank the Overseer), and executive producers Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner, and Jonathan “Jonah” Nolan. Keep reading for behind-the-scenes details from the cast and creators.

Jonathan Nolan used comedy as the secret ingredient

Fallout FYC panel with creators and cast.
Once Nolan secured the rights in 2019 and called Robertson-Dworet to help him create the show, she knew just who to call.
“Immediately, I knew we had to bring in my friend Graham [Wagner], who is one of the best comedy writers I know in television because the tone of Fallout is what’s actually sacred to the video games,” she said. “They have this incredible mix of comedy and drama.”
Wagner agreed, adding, “We had to throw away half of everything. We would write the drama parts and then we’d get too dramatic and we would write the comedy parts and get too goofy,” he explained. “It needed a dramatic thrust as well, which is true to the games. It has serious stuff in there and gains some humor along the way.”

Less was more visually

With book adaptations, filmmakers have to build the world from the authors’ descriptions. But video games are a different animal, Nolan posited.
“With a very successful franchise and incredibly beautiful, epically-scaled, vividly-detailed video games, you are not adding things,” Nolan said. “In fact, you are actually taking some things away. There is an enormous sense of responsibility and an enormous challenge of divisional labor. With Geneva and Graham masterminding the show, my end of this, since the beginning, was trying figure out how on Earth were we going to realize this? How are we going to make this something we can photograph with a camera?
“And that was all about finding the most talented head of departments we could possibly work with,” he continued. “Stuart Dryburgh, our director of photography, Howard Cummings, our production designer, and Amy Westcott, our costume designer. Jay Worth, our visual effects supervisor, has the most talented visual effects team in the business, and we endeavored every day to give them as little to do as possible.”

Walton Goggins makes you feel like the world is ending

Walton Goggings at a Prime Video event.
In the first installment of Fallout, Goggins’ character Cooper Howard is working at a children’s birthday party with his daughter when the first bomb drops. In those moments, Goggins’ expressive visage makes viewers sympathize with his desperation and fear.
“All of sudden this benign kind of conversation he’s having with his daughter turns into the end of the world,” Goggins said. “And it wasn’t until we were in the middle of filming it—I’m a father—that I understood exactly the opportunity that Graham and Geneva and Jonah had given me to experience the end of the world for everyone in the world. It was a very big responsibility and like anyone that has a child, you want to protect them and it was horrifying. But that’s just what we do, right? As actors, you turn yourself over to an imaginary set of circumstances.”

Ella Purnell felt like the ‘Ned Flanders’ of the apocolypse

To best understand Lucy, Purnell said she had to view her through understanding eyes.
Fallout FYC panel with creators and cast.
“When I signed onto this, I knew I was playing Ned Flanders in the apocalypse and I had no idea where it was going to end up,” Purnell said with a chuckle. “I trusted the writers and I trusted Jonah but I had no idea what she was going to go through and I think that probably works. It feels authentic because Lucy’s core, up until the last episode, is intact. It’s the most the intact thing about her—her belief in the Golden Rule. That’s what gets her through.”

Aaron Moten wanted Maximus and Lucy to fall in love organically

Some onscreen love stories feel rushed. But Moten wanted his and Purnell’s characters to fall for each other in a believable way.
Fallout FYC panel with creators and cast.
“That was what Graham and Geneva were writing and that was the conversation I had with Jonah,” Moten said. “By the time they get to a connection, before parting, it felt like we got to have this amazing moment where our show is doing so many things at one time and we’ve got heads touching heads. And it’s the right tone that we were really able to find by the time we get to a moment like that.”

Kyle MacLachlan’s character, Hank the Overseer, is proud of Lucy

In the final episode of Fallout Season 1, Lucy learns the truth about her father Hank and it’s not pretty. MacLachlan, the man behind Hank, said his character is actually proud that Lucy matured in the surface world, despite the consequences.
Fallout FYC panel with creators and cast.
“His entire preparation for her is meant for her to be the best,” MacLachlan expounded. “In some ways, stuff happens and he’s surprised. It makes it difficult for him knowing what’s coming and what she’s going to learn about him. She’s kind of done more than he could’ve possibly ever imagined.”

Fans think the Ghoul is sexy

“If I had known that, I would’ve cut my nose off years ago,” Goggins said with a guffaw. “For real, TheShield would’ve been like Shane ‘No Nose’ Vendrell.”
All laughs aside, Goggins explained that he is most grateful that fans can see the Ghoul’s humanity through his prosthetic makeup.
“Right out of the gate, we all talked about how we wanted the audience to lean into the experience and not be repulsed by his face, but rather to be interested and get closer to his story,” Goggins said. “We wanted it to be like a road map of the absorption of 200 years of pain, walking the Earth in a radiated landscape.”
Now that you’ve got some juicy behind-the-scenes details on hand, head to Prime Video to watch all eight episodes of Fallout Season 1.