The Fallout TV series will include a Vault Boy origin story for some reason

We got our first look at the Fallout TV series last week with a trailer on Saturday preceded by a behind-the-scenes report from Vanity Fair, which included looks at the show’s main characters and surprisingly bright and colorful post-nuclear world, and of course some words from Bethesda executive producer Todd Howard. The report also included a small and frankly baffling detail for fans to look forward to: Vault Boy, the real-world mascot of the series and in-game avatar of fictional megacorp Vault-Tec, is going to get his very own origin story.

Details weren’t shared, naturally, but Howard seems to think it’s a good idea: “That was something that they came up with that’s just really smart,” he said in the Vanity Fair article.

Origin stories are a staple of cinematic retellings—how many times have we borne witness to the radioactive spider bite, the murder of the Wayne folks, or the kid from Krypton?—but… Vault Boy? Really? It feels not only entirely unnecessary to me, but also painfully obvious: Vault-Tec needed a fun, family-friendly mascot to help sell its otherwise apocalyptic products to the public at large, so it rounded up a few underpaid ad guys (or maybe hired an external consulting firm) and stuck them in a conference room to kick around ideas until they came up with something.

Making the whole thing even stranger is its redundancy, because the TV series origin story will almost inevitably reflect how the actual Vault Boy came into being: People workshopping ideas for a memorable character to help them sell a product. According to the Fallout Wiki, original Fallout art director Leonard Boyarsky sketched what he referred to as “Skill Guy” to help illustrate some ideas he was trying to explain; it then went to artist George Almond, who refined the concept on the first few in-game stat images, after which Tramell Ray Isaac took over, finalizing the look.

Fallout producer Tim Cain shared a more compact version of the creation of Vault Boy in a 2002 interview with Duck and Cover: “All I remember is Leonard telling T. Ray Isaac to draw something like Mr. Moneybags in Monopoly.”

I’ll admit, it would be a nice little Easter egg if the Vault Boy origin story in the Fallout TV series saw a Vault-Tec marketing vice president named Leonard telling ad reps George and T. Ray that they’ve got until the end of the day to mash out something the company can put on television to juice sales. And it might go over well with people who aren’t hip to the deep Fallout lore, which is to say, just about everyone. But as an important, or even just slightly noteworthy, part of the story? I really don’t see it.

The Fallout TV series is set to air on Prime Video on April 12.

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