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‘Fallout’ Creators Answer Five Burning Questions About Season 2

‘Fallout’ Creators Answer Five Burning Questions About Season 2

Fallout launched two months ago with a big question hovering over it — could another postapocalyptic streaming drama based on a video game also become a hit after the success of HBO’s The Last of Us? Any doubts were quickly erased, with Fallout racking up a 92 percent average positive review score on Rotten Tomatoes and breaking Prime Video streaming records with its sprawling tale of three very different survivors (played by Ella Purnell, Aaron Clifton Moten and Walton Goggins) navigating a nuclear wasteland amid moments of graphic violence and off-beat humor.

“The popularity of the show is an immense surprise,” showrunner Graham Wagner said during a recent THR Presents panel, powered by Vision Media. “We didn’t make this show for everyone. We made it for ourselves, and that was, an important part of approach. But you never know how that’s going to go.”

Now showrunners Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet are taking a break from preparing Season 2 (quite literally stepping out of the writers’ room for this interview) to look back on their show’s debut season and also answer some burning questions about future seasons. Below are five highlights from the (spoiler free) Season 2 portion of our chat, and be sure to check out the full THR Presents conversation in the video for much more.

The show suggests the what shapes the soul of somebody is how long they’ve been in the Wasteland. Lucy (Purnell) pushes back on this, saying to the Ghoul: “I may end up looking like you but I’ll never be like you.” But really? If she was out there for 200 years like he was, it’s hard to imagine her altruism remaining unchanged.

GRAHAM WAGNER That is the question: Is it true? Will Lucy be able to hang on to her core? It’s sort of a nature vs. nurture question. Has her time in a happy cozy vault steeled her against that? We will find out. What we’re already into in Season 2 is exploring how far we want to push this character, how much do we want to see her hang onto to herself. It becomes the game of the show in its own way.

GENEVA ROBERTSON-DWORET Lucy’s been out there a few days. Maximus (Moten) has been out there 20 to 30 years. And The Ghoul (Goggins) 200 years. That’s why Maximus is a character who’s more conflicted than The Ghoul about violence. He still hopes to do the right thing, but he knows how hard it is and he’s willing to do some immoral things in order to ultimately do the right thing.

What specifically did you learn writing the first season — and then watching how the results played out and fan reactions — that you can apply to the second season?

ROBERTSON-DWORET So many things were discovered in the writing, shooting and in post. It was a huge relief to us to know that Ella is an incredible performer who makes sure that Lucy is not annoying. We were very scared that our main character was a bit annoying because she’s a very privileged person and we kind of resent her for that. She comes from the world of haves and she goes into a world of have nots, and she certainly starts the season thinking she knows better than them and being a little judgy of the people she meets for what they are willing to do to survive. Knowing that people are open to Max being a morally ambiguous character is always appreciated. But what I’m really excited to continue in Season 2 is that blend of tones, that this show can have sitcom moments that are juxtaposed with people shooting each other.

WAGNER I’m sure there’s a cooler way to say “follow your bliss,” but that’s sort of what it was. We wrote things because we wanted to write them and shoot them, and if it ever felt like a scene was a drag, were like like, “Well, let’s not write it.” So we’re just continuing to try to make our own personal and collective joy govern decisions as we go forward.

Director Jonathan Nolan said with Season 2 “will be playing in the same space, but not necessarily with the same elements.” Yet the end of the season one seems to set up a storyline that continues pretty directly from where you left off. How much is the second season a reset versus a continuation?

ROBERTSON-DWORET I think what Jonah was maybe alluding to is there are 25 years of Fallout games. There were so many things that we were not able to put in the show that we really desperately wanted that are either brilliant ideas for characters, creatures, set pieces. We’re always going to be bringing in new things from the Fallout mythology as we move forward with the show.

You’ve joked about the show having hundreds of seasons. What’s your ideal number of seasons?

WAGNER We’ve talked about a billion seasons as a jokey way to evade the question because we don’t control that. So our hope is to end every season with a semi-satisfying, semi-open-ended kind of shape. Look, we’ve talked about three seasons and we’ve talked about five seasons. Given the success of the show, five is suddenly feeling a little more appealing. But the industry is a temperamental thing and we kind of have to go into each season being like, “This is our last.”

ROBERTSON-DWORETWe could be replaced by robots by Season 5.

You guys are moving the production from New York to California for the second season. How will that impact things?

WAGNER I think the audience is going to find the lack of strain on personal lives palpable. I feel like this is going to be relatively smooth sailing because we have so much great desert right here in California. We’re going to start scouting locations we literally can drive to from the writers’ room.

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ROBERTSON-DWORET But also: less gray skies. That was tricky about New York. We were shooting partially in the summer and partially in the middle of winter. And some of those exteriors, the gray skies, they’re just not as beautiful. There’s a reason filmmaking came to Southern California.

WAGNER We wrapped in early February. It’s a miracle that the final scenes weren’t covered in snow.

ROBERTSON-DWORET Yeah, global warming saved us.

I’m sure Prime Video is eager to get the new season on the air quickly. What’s your best guess for the new episodes? Late 2025? 2026? Non-binding guesses! We won’t hold you to it.

WAGNER The internet has an interesting habit of making non-binding statements binding, so I’m hesitant to give a date that will be taken out of context and live on Reddit for a year or so. But we are going as fast as we possibly can, and we’ve got a lot of heavy lifting from Season 1 already done. We have sets, assets, visual effects, that are already done. We are hitting the ground running this season. We’re going to be pedal to the metal to get season two out as fast as humanly possible.

ROBERTSON-DWORET And there are so many things we wanted to do in Season 1 where we were like, “That would be amazing, let’s do that in Season 2.” So it feels like we’re so much farther along and it’s honestly really exciting and we’re just really grateful to have the opportunity to bring to the screen all the things that didn’t quite fit in Season 1. We’re excited to get to now do those now.

This edition of THR Presents is sponsored by Amazon Prime.

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