Who Is The Ghoul? Walton Goggins’ Fallout Character & Video Game Connection Explained


  • The show will feature an original story set in the Fallout universe but will incorporate references to the games and fresh twists on existing lore.
  • Walton Goggins plays a prominent character called The Ghoul, who is a mutated survivor of the nuclear holocaust and serves as a bounty hunter.
  • Unlike typical ghouls in the games, The Ghoul is portrayed as a more human-like figure with a complex backstory.

Amazon Prime Video’s first look at the Fallout TV series has viewers wondering who the Ghoul, Walton Goggins’ Fallout character, is in relation to the video-game source material. Developed by Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 3 reinvigorated a dormant series, infusing the game’s post-apocalyptic, open-world environment with a new sense of scope and terror. Praised for its open-ended gameplay and emphasis on players’ choices, Fallout 3 – and the franchise as a whole — doesn’t have the typical hallmarks of a game that’s begging to be adapted to the screen. Still, the immersive world-building and propulsive narrative pushed Amazon to release a Fallout TV show.

Developed by Westworld duo Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, the upcoming 2024 series pulls from the Fallout franchise at large and tells an original story within the property’s existing continuity. Even so, the Fallout show’s first official images reveal elements that most closely resemble the third installment in the video game series. Despite centering on original characters, including Ella Purnell’s Lucy and Kyle MacLachlan’s Hank, Fallout is still set in an alternate history’s nuclear wasteland that leans heavily into a 1950s-inspired retrofuturistic aesthetic. Eager to prove that successful video game adaptations aren’t flukes, Fallout borrows the source material’s distinct backdrop and unsettling lore, including the games’ ghouls.

Walton Goggins’ Ghoul Character In Fallout Explained

Actor Walton Goggins side-by-side with a Ghoul from Fallout

Dubbed “Fallout’s wild card” by Vanity Fair, The Ghoul is the show’s third central figure. Played by Walton Goggins, who’s had prominent roles in projects like Django Unchained and Justified, The Ghoul is a bounty hunter by trade. At first, Goggins’ character was referred to as an “unnamed Ghoul,” but the series is seemingly using the character as the preeminent example of the video games’ memorable race of post-human beings. For now, the show’s plot is locked away in a vault, so to speak. Much like the games, the series is set decades after a nuclear war destroyed the surface world and left culture mired in the Atomic Age.

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In Fallout 3, which is arguably the most popular installment in the series, the player character lives in the confines of a Vault alongside their father. Designed to never be opened, Vaults are social experiments littered throughout the post-war wasteland. Suddenly, the player character’s father leaves the Vault, prompting their child to pursue them and come face-to-face with the above-ground world and its violent inhabitants for the first time. Even though the Fallout TV series plans to tell an original story within the franchise’s canon, it will likely boast plenty of references to the games as well as fresh twists on existing lore.

Amazon’s Fallout TV series is set to premiere on April 12, 2024.

How Goggins’ Fallout Character Compares To Ghouls In The Video Games

Walton Goggins as the Ghoul points a gun at the camera in Amazon's Fallout

At first glance, Purnell and MacLachlan’s characters resemble Fallout 3‘s core duo, but Walton Goggins’ character seems, by necessity, different from his video game counterpart(s). In the games, ghouls are mutated survivors of the nuclear holocaust. As Vanity Fair puts it, “Ghouls are typically cannon fodder” — somewhat-faceless enemies that exist for the player to kill. Given his brush with radiation, Goggins’ Ghoul has lived for hundreds of years. In that time, he turned from father and husband Cooper Howard into a ruthless-yet-honor-bound sharpshooter. While Amazon’s Fallout draws inspiration from the games, The Ghoul is a more human look at a decidedly post-human being.

Source: Vanity Fair


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