Todd Howard says the Fallout TV show is 'canon,' so of course fans are already picking it apart

Fallout TV show character
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Well, that didn't take long: Amazon's Fallout TV series won't be streaming until April 2024, but some Fallout fans have already begun to pick it apart based on just a handful of new images from the show released yesterday. 

If you follow Fallout lore discussions even casually, it won't surprise you to hear a lot of the complaints are around something that's gotten Fallout into lore trouble in the past: The Brotherhood of Steel.

Where to start? With three things, really. First, Todd Howard said in the recent Vanity Fair article that Bethesda views "what’s happening in the show as canon," which means the events of the show are fact within the greater Fallout fiction. Secondly, the same article revealed that the Fallout show takes place 219 years after the Great War, in the year 2296, which is only 9 years after Fallout 4 (2287) and 15 years after Fallout: New Vegas (2281). Finally, we know the show takes place in Los Angeles, California.

And that's all fans need: give 'em a date, a location, and a photograph, and they'll start digging up problems with all three. Some fans quickly noticed that while the Brotherhood of Steel is shown in great force in several of the new pictures, the NCR (New California Republic) isn't shown at all. How could the BoS muscle into Los Angeles with so much hardware and firepower when we know the NCR was kicking butt and taking names in SoCal?

"I wonder how they'll handle NCR territory," a fan wonders in this long (and quite positive) reaction thread in the Fallout subreddit. "At this point in the lore isn’t it supposed to be a functioning society? But it seems they’re going for the desolated wasteland aesthetic which I feel will be at odds with how relatively advanced the NCR is in the lore."

"Even if the NCR collapsed entirely, it would be strange for LA to have such a strong Brotherhood presence only 15 years after the events of New Vegas," says another.

"Takes place after the games in LA but no big emphasis on the NCR?" asks another fan. "I know they were mentioned, but I would have assumed the NCR would have been a main talking point."

A person wearing power armor from the Fallout games

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

"Brotherhood of Steel in Los Angeles in 2296? 15 years prior they were huddled in the Hidden Valley Bunker, refused to come out, and had the NCR bent on their destruction," reads another comment. "If they're going to say this is canon and part of the show, these things need to be explained."

Things get even murkier with the image of the Brotherhood of Steel's airship Caswennan, which looks almost identical to the Prydwyn, the BoS airship in Fallout 4's Boston. When I looked at the picture I went "Oooh," but it turns out a lot of fans looked at it and went "Huh?"

People looking up at massive floating airship

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

"Absolutely fascinated to learn how the Caswennan came to exist," one Reddit user says in a way that makes me think if the show doesn't explain it in great detail they'll be extremely disappointed. "Prydwen was designed from the ground up as far as we know as a next generation airship so has to be involved in this somehow."

Others speculate that since the Prydwyn was destroyed in one of Fallout's endings, it's possible the Caswennan is a rebuilt Prydwyn. Which raises other problems. Would the BoS have been able to restore and relocate the ship across the entire continent in just a handful of years? And there's still the question of why the NCR didn't shoot it down the second it hovered into view.

A person wearing power armor from the Fallout games

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Even a BoS gun shown in one of the pictures is being targeted by unhappy fans, though it's less of a lore issue. "The costumes look amazing but that one goddamn power armor user with the Fallout 4 assault rifle. I hoped that the franchise was leaving that god awful weapon design in 4," says a disgruntled fan.

"I at least hope they make it clear that it's a weapon designed to be used in conjuction with power armour, [versus] a standard issue weapon," another responds. 

"I hope to god and back that they end up calling it a heavy MG, or something in the same category instead," someone else says.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for these Fallout 4 gun fanatics, but I'm pretty sure they're not gonna bring the show to a screeching halt to comprehensively explain one of its guns. It also makes me wonder what some of these fans really want from a Fallout TV show? For Walton Goggins to read the instruction manual for an assault rifle out loud to the audience?

Oddly enough, this is essentially the same Brotherhood of Steel problem Fallout 76 had. Fallout 76 takes place in West Virginia in 2102, and according to the lore established in the earlier games, the BoS didn't become active until 50 or so years later when it finally left its Lost Hills bunker in California. Not only should the BoS not be in West Virginia, they shouldn't be in Fallout 76 at all.

(Image credit: Amazon (Twitter))

Or so it would seem. Turns out, Bethesda explained a bit about the BoS presence in Fallout 76 with notes and journal entries scattered around in the game, but later published a video to more firmly retcon the discrepancy. Maybe there will be some supplemental material available when the Fallout show starts streaming in April to explain what's happened in the past nine years, lore-wise, so it doesn't all have to be crammed into some exposition during an episode.

Why does this keep happening? It's really very simple. The Brotherhood of Steel has sickass armor and airships and weapons, and it would pretty much suck if they were left out of any Fallout videogames or TV shows. So, they're crammed into everything if it doesn't 100% make sense to the established lore, and then people who care deeply about that established lore start getting annoyed. 

It's happened before. It'll happen again. Lore. Lore never changes.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.