Walton Goggins 'had no idea how iconic' Fallout's 'war never changes' line was, and he's glad he didn't mess it up

The Ghoul looking over his shoulder
(Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

There are some lines that are just impossible to forget, and for some old-time Fallout fans, the sentence "War. War never changes" is probably up there as one of the most iconic lines ever uttered in a videogame. It was repurposed in the recent Fallout TV series and given to Walton Goggins' character, Cooper Howard, who is later known as The Ghoul, but even after saying the line, Goggins has only just been told of its significance. 

Originally, "war never changes" was said by actor Ron Perlman in the opening narration of the first Fallout game. The opening speech describes the history of war and how waging it is just human nature before Perlman goes on to describe what war in the present would look like, fighting over nuclear arms, which would eventually lead to humanity's downfall. 

The Fallout TV show repurposes the line for a heavy and meaningful end to the first season. So, if you haven't watched the last episode yet and don't want spoilers, it's probably best to save this story for another day. 

The Ghoul drops the line after first hearing it from his beloved wife, Barb, after discovering how she's not only betrayed him but all of humanity. She works as a high-up Vault-Tec executive and is one of the architects of the nuclear war that decimates Fallout's world just to give the company a total monopoly. As Barb tries to justify her actions to Howard, she says, "War never changes," and humans will always look for bloody conflicts.

Just as the line has stayed with so many Fallout fans, it has remained with Howard for over 200 years as he searches for any remnants of his past life. After watching all the bloodshed and chaos at the Griffith Observatory, The Ghoul echoes his long lost wife's words, "War. War never changes."

It's a brilliant rendition of an iconic line, but according to an interview with GQ, Walton Goggins had no idea just how vital his short speech was. He has since posted an Instagram post highlighting the interview and explaining his thought process behind the line.

"I had no idea how iconic those words were to the players of this game," Goggins explains. "I thought Graham and Geneva had written one of the best lines of dialogue I've been given the opportunity to say over the course of my career. Alas, I was wrong. I didn’t ask, and they didn’t tell me. And I'm glad I didn’t."

He goes on to explain that if he had known how much weight those words held he may have said it wrong or even chosen not to say them at all in fear of messing up Perlman's iconic line. "I didn't say them as well as he did… but I said em nonetheless," Goggins concludes.

Not everyone can pull off a line like that, but I honestly think Goggins does one hell of a job. By not trying to imitate the original source, this line gets to live a new, tragic, and heartfelt life in the TV series, one which will almost definitely haunt a whole new group of fans.

News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.