The History Behind That City in ‘Fallout’s Finale

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Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for ‘Fallout’ Season 1


The Big Picture

  • Fallout
    Season 1 finale foreshadows possible setting shift to New Vegas.
  • The show officially incorporates elements from
    Fallout: New Vegas
    into canon, including Mr. House.
  • The show may explore established factions and storylines from the popular game.

Prime Videos’ Fallout series is rolling the dice for a second season, and that’s the opportune term to use given the location that the Season 1 finale teases. The series already takes place in a significant locale of the Fallout universe, that being the arid region of what used to be Southern California. Throughout the series we see the remnants of another familiar name in the world of Fallout, the New California Republic, which appears to be either displaced or disbanded after their base at Shady Sands was destroyed by Hank MacLean (Kyle MacLachlan).


The NCR and their home base of Shady Sands were first introduced in Fallout 2, adding a fun reference that’s consistent with the show’s setting in Southern California. However, the organization is arguably more well-known for their appearance in a later Fallout title, Fallout: New Vegas. It’s one of the most beloved entries in an already beloved franchise, and it finally seems to be getting some long-overdue acknowledgment in the Season 1 finale of Fallout.


Fallout

In a future, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles brought about by nuclear decimation, citizens must live in underground bunkers to protect themselves from radiation, mutants and bandits.

Release Date
April 11, 2024

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Creator(s)
Graham Wagner , Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Streaming Service(s)
Prime Video

Seasons
1

Producer
Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan

Read Our Review


What Is the Main Story of ‘Fallout: New Vegas’?

Fallout: New Vegas takes place in between the events of Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, and features a story that, like many of the other Fallout games, is mostly disconnected from the others. It’s also the only other main game in the series to follow a player character that was not born in a Vault. Instead, the main protagonist is a Wastelander who gets involved in a wild and twisty conspiracy.

Players fill the role of “The Courier” – an average delivery person who gets roped up in a bizarre set of circumstances. The Courier is abducted by a gang known as The Great Khans that are being led by a wise-talking gangster named Benny (Matthew Perry). Whatever The Courier was delivering that night was something of great importance, as Benny thanks the player for the delivery with a swift bullet to the head. Miraculously, The Courier is found by a kindly physician named Doc Mitchell (Michael Hogan) and they’re able to heal from their wounds. The near-death experience inspires The Courier to track down Benny and find out why they were shot.


The Courier’s quest for answers eventually takes them to the city of New Vegas, which appears remarkably out of place compared to the rest of the Wasteland. Where most of the United States’ landmarks are in ruins, New Vegas looks practically untouched and even seems to have gone through some advancements. The Courier soon learns the item they were transporting that night was a platinum poker chip that doubles as a key to controlling all the computers and security robots in New Vegas, and it’s something that all of Nevada’s major factions want to get a hold of. It then falls upon the player to decide the fate of New Vegas and who they decide to align themselves with.

A Philanthropist Named Robert House is the Brains Behind New Vegas

Rafi Silver as Mr. House in the 'Fallout' Season 1 Finale
Image via Prime Video


The wild and rapid transformation of Las Vegas into New Vegas is in large part thanks to one Robert Edwin House (René Auberjonois), more commonly referred to as “Mr. House”. Before the bombs fell, House was the founder and CEO of RobCo Industries — the same company responsible for the invention of highly advanced technological products such as the Pip-Boy. According to House himself, he foresaw the coming nuclear disaster that would engulf the country and put measures in place to protect the city of Las Vegas as well as he could.

House was right, and he succeeded in his goal, as Las Vegas was somehow successfully able to avoid complete annihilation (though it did sustain some damage). House accomplished this task at the cost of making himself more machine than man. House permanently hooked himself up to an elaborate machine that gave him control and access to the various defense systems of Vegas. While he did succeed in defending the vast majority of Las Vegas, the strain the tech had on his body put House into a coma for the next few decades.


When House awoke, he was dismayed to see that the city, while still technically stable, was being tainted by Wastelanders, raiders, mutants, and more. House regained control of the city and activated his Securitron robots to bring law and order back to what he was now dubbing “New Vegas”. He also accomplished the creation of this new city by working with several less-than-reputable factions, primarily the ones associated with the so-called Three Families.

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Related

‘Fallout’s Walton Goggins Explains Why The Ghoul Had To Be Sexy

Goggins also talks about which of his previous characters The Ghoul would team up with in the Wasteland.

‘Fallout’ Season 1’s Ending Codifies ‘Fallout: New Vegas’ into Canon


Since the game’s release, Fallout: New Vegas has been in an unusual place of semi-canon status. The game hasn’t been frequently acknowledged by Bethesda in a significant capacity in quite some time, possibly because the game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment rather than Bethesda Game Studios. Plus, unlike some of the other games, it hasn’t become explicitly clear which of the game’s many endings is the canonical one. Given the way Fallout Season 1 ends, the game appears to be codified as canon definitively (though to be fair there was never an explicit indication that the game wasn’t canonical to start with). These are much more substantial than mere nods and references, such as the sequence where we see two individuals decked out in NCR Ranger gear. The same armor is seen on the iconic box art of Fallout: New Vegas.


Firstly, we actually got to see Mr. House (played by Rafi Silver) in the flesh during the shocking flashback sequence in Season 1’s finale. The sequence already drops the stunning reveal that Vault-Tec, and its associate companies, were directly responsible for the nukes that engulfed the U.S. However, this sequence also dramatically adds a major wrinkle to Mr. House’s character. The idea that he “predicted” the fall may be true, but this scene proves that he had direct and implicit knowledge that a nuclear disaster was coming. The idea that he “saved” Vegas now looks less heroic and more like a characteristically vain attempt to convince the denizens of New Vegas of his power.

We get an even more explicit nod to Fallout: New Vegas when Hank, now revealed to be a secret Vault-Tec operative, makes his way toward the titular city. It’s a direct tease that New Vegas will be a prominent location should Fallout be renewed for a second season. That also means we may finally discover which ending, if any, of the game is considered the canonical one. That said, since we know Hank detests everything about the surface world, he’s probably going toward the notorious city in the hopes that he’ll find House, given that the former RobCo CEO was in cahoots with Vault-Tec.


Fallout Season 1 is available to stream on Prime Video in the U.S.

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