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Walton Goggins’ Fallout Role Is Far More Interesting Than It May Seem


The first details about Walton Goggins’ role in Amazon’s Fallout series suggests the actor will have a far more substantial role than some previously suspected.

Fallout Walton Goggins
Photo: Amazon Prime Video/Vanity Fair

In an extensive interview with Vanity Fair, the creators of Amazon’s upcoming Fallout series revealed some of the first substantial details about the show. While that Vanity Fair story is filled with fascinating tidbits, some of the most interesting new details concern Walton Goggins’ suddenly much more interesting role in the project.

Previously, it was revealed that Goggins will play a Ghoul in Amazon’s Fallout series. For those who don’t know, Ghouls in the Fallout universe are essentially humans who have been physically and mentally mutated by prolonged exposure to radiation. Though some Ghouls are little more than aggressive zombies meant to be destroyed by the player’s character, other Ghouls have actually formed their own societies removed from the rest of the (post-apocalyptic) world. They’re outcasts, but they’re not necessarily more hostile than the average human.

Though Ghouls are often more complex than they may initially appear to be, the decision to cast Goggins as a Ghoul struck some fans as an odd choice. While it was easy to assume that Goggins would be cast as a non-feral Ghoul with dialog and a personality, that casting decision still presented several logistical hurdles. Not only would Goggins seemingly need to be removed from so much of the rest of the action (Ghouls are often portrayed as outcasts after all) but playing a Ghoul seemingly meant that Goggins would need to be completely transformed by makeup. Put it all together, and some simply wondered why such a big name was being cast in a role that felt like it may exist on the margins.

However, it turns out that there is much more to the Goggins’ role than meets the eye. In that Vanity Fair interview, showrunner Jonathan Nolan explains that Goggins’ Ghoul is actually a kind of roaming bounty hunter/outlaw who has been alive for hundreds of years. While some of the bigger details about his background remain a mystery, we do know that The Ghoul (as he is formally known) used to be a man named Cooper Howard who seemingly lived a normal life with his wife and kids. However, the events of the Great War, Howard’s eventual mutation, and hundreds of years of apocalyptic existence clearly changed Howard in some profound ways. Indeed, Nolan explains that The Ghoul has become a kind of antihero who offers a different perspective on the world that was and the one that is.

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