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Fallout film treatment
The following is the second revision of the canceled Fallout movie treatment, written by Brent V. Friedman in early 1998, before the release of Fallout 2. A third version, with some additions and refinements also existed, but is yet to be found. This isn't the definitive version (most of the character names are placeholders, for example) but it's still a decent overview of the story macro. A full script for the movie was never written, as Interplay Films was disbanded before that happened.
|The following is based on the canceled Fallout movie and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
|The following is the original document or a transcript thereof.|
• Commuters waiting for Metro. Looks like present day LA. All reading LA Times except one, our Hero. 20-something, handsome, restless. He confides in a friend that he had that dream again… of fishing in a creek and actually catching a fish. “It’s not healthy to dream of fish,” warns Friend.
• Tram arrives, passengers board. Out window is blur of countryside. Hero calls out scenery highlights (red Caddy, girl in yellow slicker) before they appear… then suddenly they flicker and leave passengers in dark. A voice informs: “Due to technical difficulties, there will be no view this morning.”
• Reveal that the tram has only moved 10 feet from one side of cement wall to another. Scenery is just projected travelling matte, a spliced film loop. They are living inside an underground vault housing a couple thousand people. It’s a scaled down, low budget simulation of Los Angeles complete climate control and fake trees. The vibe is techno retro, combining a 50’s idyllic with late 20th Century technology. Everything is designed to help vault dwellers cope with the reality of living in a claustrophobic, underground world. But our Hero is not coping well with this latest breakdown. In fact, he causes quite a stir, protesting aloud to the other commuters that he’s tired of having his whole life manufactured. There must be something better.
• Video surveillance watching our Hero on his public rant. Vault Police stop Hero, chase him down for “disturbing the peace.” Female Officer paces Hero, who shows uncanny knowledge of this vault, ducking into secret doors and byways. Using her superior physical skills, Female Officer finally tackles our Hero. It’s clear she knows Hero and she’s been wanting to do this for some time. But to her disappointment, she is instructed to let Hero go.
• Hero at prestigious job -- or so he’s told -- as Assistant Vault Supervisor, working on Supply Inventory. He inspects the G.E.C.K. -- The Garden of Eden Creation Kit. As part of his daily ritual as resident dreamer, he watches an old promo tape, which explains the G.E.C.K. is a miraculous, one-shot terra forming device to be used by the Vault Dwellers upon eventual emergence onto the surface. Our Hero can’t wait. Then he discovers some anomaly in the vault’s water supply. Makes presentation to Vault Supervisor (his father), who is pleased at how sharp our Hero is... but also knows how bored he is. Father’s already seen video tape of the tram incident – this is not the first time Hero has disturbed the peace. Establish internal strife between those who believe salvation/damnation is above. It’s become a generational thing, like the 60’s. Hero points out that all his generation’s complaints with pre-fab Vault life are irrelevant without water…
• Meeting of Elders in private upper level chamber. A First-Gen group of seven survivors (including Hero’s father) from pre-vault days before WWIII some 50 years ago. The Elders were selected to lead the vault from inception to scheduled opening in about 10 years. Our Hero presents the problem: water purifier chip broken. And all the extras are used up. In one week Vault 13 will be out of drinking water. The Overseer (Head Elder) decides secret must be kept from “public,” they cannot afford to instill panic. Because Hero is highest ranking member of Third-Gen (ages 15-35), he is chosen to lead a physically demanding surface recon search for a new chip.
• A scout team of members is assembled by the Overseer: 1) a quirky Male Technician (Hero’s Friend from subway), 2) the no-nonsense Female Vault Officer, 3) and a cocky Surface Scholar. We establish Vault 13’s frame of reference is from pre-Nuclear war in 2003. No one from vault has been above ground since. Intel probes show rad levels basically liveable, and they have infrared reading that some life has survived. After nuclear war, all communications with the other 12 vaults in Southern California was lost. How much of world has rebuilt itself, if any, is completely unknown. Since all the So Cal vaults are identical in design, Vault 8 is the primary target -- it’s a two day hike and maybe they have an extra water chip. Assuming that all computers are down above ground, the secondary target is, ludicrously, The Yellow Pages – known as a nifty pre-war source of info.
• During the team’s intense training, The Surface Scholar claims to know everything about pre-war firearms, but nothing prepares the group for the destructive power of guns -- weapons have never been exposed to anyone in the vault. When our Hero proves to be uncomfortable with a gun, the Surface Scholar makes a hostile bid for leader position. This only gets the Female Officer keyed up to make her own bid, feeling she could take both of them, causing the Techy to admit he’s nervous about the whole mission. Into this chaos steps the Overseer, who warns: they MUST work together or not only will they die, the entire Vault 13 will perish.
• At home that night, Hero admits to his father he’s always dreamed of a trip above ground, but not under these circumstances. Father is just so proud his son was picked to lead expedition. It will secure our Hero a future position as an Elder. Alone in his room, Hero looks out his window (like in tram, just a film loop) at distant creek (from his dream). Packing, he finds his “marriage kit.” Marriages are pre-arranged based on genetic potential and needs of vault. Looking at a photo of his Intended, his conscience is stirred. He asks his father if he can tell her what’s going up so she can get on with her life, but dad says no. It may look idyllic, but this is not a free society.
• Hero cleverly alludes Vault Security to bid a secret farewell to his Intended. It’s clear neither actually loved each other, but they accepted their roles in the vault. Hero can’t tell her where what he’s doing, but wants her to start working out alternative life chart immediately in case he doesn’t make it back from the surface. They part as good friends, with her admiring both his courage and honesty. His Intended will figure into story prominently later.
• The next morning, our group is outfitted with one week survival kits, weapons and cash to buy a replacement chip… in case they find a Radio Shack. Leaving Vault 13 is emotional moment for all four scout members. Treated like our first trip to the Moon, complete with live vid-feed to Elders from camera on Techy. We start to learn that like our Hero, each of the other three scouts have at one time all voiced desires of going above ground. This is like a dream come true for them, but soon to become a nightmare...
• The world is exactly as we would expect. A vast, arrid wasteland of rubble. Discover we are near Lancaster, L.A. Already the Techy is lamenting the heat, how heavy his pack is... he’ll never make it to Vault 8. Then he spots his salvation: a pay phone in desert rubble. Techy races for yellow pages thinking they can just order a water chip over the phone. But as he reaches the phone... he gets a bullet thru his brain -- vid-feed to Elders lost. Suddenly, the scout team is attacked by Scavengers cresting a bluff. The Lead Scavenger smirks at the his pay phone trap: “Stupid Vault Dwellers fall for it every time.”
• A vicious gun battle ensues where our team struggles with their new weapons. The biggest problem is that our team’s single-shot weapons are vastly inferior to the Scavengers’ automatic arsenal. Hiding amidst the rubble, Hero and Scholar are at odds over their course of action. Scholar impetuously wants to attack Scavengers. Although Hero is devastated over loss of friend, he insists they stay focused and proceed to Vault 8. Female Officer is swing vote. She backs Hero, but only because she doesn’t trust these two guys yet to cover her back in battle...
• The trek through the wasteland is harrowing. Searing heat is cooking them inside suits. Water supply has nearly evaporated. Jettison suits debate? Elders warned it may not affect them, but could affect progeny. That’s bad for Vault. But hero sets tone and takes off suit. Female follows, but Scholar stubbornly refuses… until he passes out.
• They finally arrive at Vault 8... only to discover it was infiltrated years ago. There are signs of a fearsome battle at the vault entrance. Amidst human remains are terrifying skeletons belonging to some bi-pedal species roughly 9 feet tall and 500 lbs. In what’s left of Vault Security, the Female Officer finds a video tape of massacre by hideous humanoid monstrosities (MUTANTS) seemingly impervious to bullets. What if these things are still living inside Vault 8?
• Our Hero says they must have a water chip, at all costs. And shows his bravery when he volunteers to venture down alone into the dark bowels of Vault 8. It’s a ghost town inside. An expert on vault layout and design, Hero descends three levels on rope – this place is identical to Vault 13. Arriving at the water purifier, he finds whole mechanism decayed. Chip is corroded. All hope lost. Behind him, rope falls, Hero realizes he’s set off alarm and bolts. Hero outwits lethal obstacle course to escape… only to be captured near exit by Mad Max character. Max, who has already caught and bound other two scouts, is impressed with Hero’s survival skills: “No one’s ever made it back up to Level 1. Unfortunately, I still gotta kill you for trespassing.”
• But then Max notices insignia on Hero’s canteen: they are from Vault 13. Max asks what they are doing here? Hero explains water chip saga. Max offers to get them a new chip… in exchange for V-13’s G.E.C.K. Other scouts insist Hero can’t make that deal. Each Vault only has one G.E.C.K. and that is their future. But Hero reasons the future is a luxury they can’t afford right now. “It’s a deal. On my life,” he says.
• Max will take our team to The Hub, a trading post about a day’s ride away, to barter for a water chip. Travel through desert in Max’s customized ATV. Pass a walled village where two-headed boy waves to them – “Fallout freaks.,” Max comments. “Came out of their vault too early. Nothing of value inside there, unless you like your steaks with hair on the inside.”
• We establish developing chemistry between Max and Female, while a hostility percolates between Max and the cocky Scholar.... whose formal knowledge of this world is in direct contrast to Max’s survivalist mentality. Meanwhile, our Hero begins making a personal Pip-Boy chronicle (imagine a video micro-corder) of this strange surface world -- a harsh world he never imagined -- to share with Vault 13 upon his return.
• Back in Vault 13, Hero’s Intented is comforted over “sickness” of Hero, who has been quarantined for virus. Learn this is the Elders’ cover story for hero and other three scouts. To placate Intended, she is given Hero’s old job in Operations – it’s clear he isn’t going back. Intended confides news of top secret surface quest to a friend. Through series of cutaways throughout story we see spreading story of surface quest begin to unravel the social stability of Vault 13. The rumor is, it’s the end of the world as they know it.
• Max drives his ATV to the top of the Hollywood Hills. Looking down on the L.A. basin our team is stunned by the sight: L.A. has literally become a jungle. A massive tangle of mutated flora and fauna spreading from the foot of the hills all the way to the ocean. Poking up through the canopy are the remains of the scattered L.A. skyline. According to Max, this jungle was created by multiple G.E.C.K.s used when the soil was still irradiated -- nobody knows who started it.
• Venturing into the jungle in the ATV, our team utilizes remnants of the old freeway system. Oddly, a few stoplights are still working and still ignored. In some ways, little has changed. Hero notices semi-mutated kids living in the treetops like monkeys -- Max explains they are the result of nasty Mutant experiments conducted on humans. Turns out the Mutants rule the jungle like a mafia. They should be avoided at all costs.
• Arrive at Hub. It’s the blasted-out remains of the Beverly Center. The countdown display out front warns that “Only 11 acres of rain forest remain.” There is valet parking outside for those who can afford it. Max leaves his precious ATV with a shifty valet... warning the lad that he’s now sitting on a mine. If he leaves the seat it blows. If he tries to disarm it, it blows. If the odometer changes, it blows. Only Max’s remote will turn it off.
• Inside the Hub a Persian-bazaar atmosphere pervades the one-time shopping Mecca. Each store is now a trader’s stall where tools, supplies and even human slaves are traded. Our team is forced, like every other “shopper”, to check their weapons at the door. Max warns them that this is a very dangerous place, to only follow his lead and always keep your eye on the nearest exit. Meanwhile, all eyes inside mall focus with conspiracy on the Vault 13 team when they enter—their Vault 13 canteens signal them as newly hatched chicks, easy marks with rare supplies and pristine genetics. Learn from Max that Vault 13 is last of So Cal vaults to open. Same hype as King Tut’s tomb. At one stall, the cocky Scholar is embarrassed when he tries to barter for water chip – he has $5,000 in outdated dollars and a VISA card. Even Max is embarrassed but amused by this group’s naivate.
• Hero spots a couple of the Scavengers who murdered Techy. They are selling his friend’s personal belongings … and body organs. Hero snaps -- the horror of this world has finally gotten to him. And with the Scholar, Hero attacks Scavengers. Because no one has weapons, it turns into a huge brawl. The guys are getting whooped, especially the Scholar, causing Max to reluctantly intervene -- but The Female Officer beats him too it, showing her amazing fighting skills in dispatching the Scavengers. Max is plenty impressed, but that doesn’t stop the group from being arrested.
• They are brought before Dekker, insidious Mayor of the Hub. His office is last standing movie theatre – they have to wait for his favorite scene in “BladeRunner” to end. “Now that would’ve have been a fun future.” Clearly, Dekker and Max have history. Unpleasant history. But when Dekker sees the other three are from V-13 he’s willing to forgive transgressions. They can barter directly with him -- he will get them water chip, in exchange for two of their lives, one of which must be the female. Hero objects. Max wisely says they will have to think about it. They are made guests of Dekker for the night. Talk business in morning....
• Hero wants Max to take them to another trading Hub. But there is no other one. Max has barely enough gas to make trip here and back. There are rumors of more Hubs, but as far as anyone knows, this is the world. Take the deal, or take a hike. Max pragmatically suggests two guys draw straws in the morning to see who gives themselves up for good of vault -- weren’t they volunteering their lives when they left the vault?
• Group is granted entrance to Dekker’s private club of depravity. Max buys our trio drinks, tells them to loosen up. Establish a budding Skywalker/Solo relationship between Max and our Hero. The dinner specials include “Coyote Stew,” “Grilled Gecko,” and an assortment of other exotic local fare. After dinner, Scholar unwisely partakes in the various female desserts offered.
• Hero is tempted by semi-mutated women all trying to get their hands on his pristine bodily fluids, but Hero uses time alone, to continue his Pip-Boy chronicle and contemplate the trio’s dire predicament. An ancient, self-proclaimed Historian approaches our Hero, wanting to know all the details of Vault 13. Turns out the Historian is writing the definitive book on WWIII. Vault 13 is the final chapter -- each vault was populated by upper-middle class families buying the equivalent of timeshare in the future. Our Hero asks how the war started and is shocked to learn that it wasn’t China or North Korea or India that fired the first strike. The first nuclear bomb was launched by the creator of the vaults, a zealot businessman who wanted to fulfill his own prophecy of world annihilation. That first bomb triggered a panicked chain reaction among other countries, leading to a four hour WWIII.
• Find our Female Officer and Max in a private room in the club. She’s never met a man like Max before and she offers her body to Max – she doesn’t want to die a virgin. It’s been awhile for Max. Foreplay becomes his backstory: as young boy he left Vault 8 with father and other survivors of Mutant attack. The survivors took their G.E.C.K to start new life. Didn’t make it far before Father killed by Scavengers. Max was sold as slave to a younger Dekker -- helped him build this Hub -- but he escaped when he was a teenager. Returned to live alone in trashed Vault 8. He’s always wanted to live out his father’s dream. If this all works out, he finally may get to…
• Late night raid on Hub by Mutants breaks up party at club… and near Max/Female consumation. All exits are sealed. Word quickly spreads that Mutants are looking for “pristine humans,” meaning our trio. Max urges Hero and Female Officer to flee – Mutants can’t be stopped by bullets. But Hero doesn’t want to leave missing Scholar behind. Max admires Hero’s loyalty but suggests a good leader can make tough decisions for the betterment of the group. And this is one of them -- forget the prick!
• Moments later, the Scholar finds them, says he found a way out of Hub. Max is skeptical, but they follow… into ambush, where Dekker is waiting with gang of Mutants. Turns out Scholar has sold out Hero and Female Officer, offering them both to Dekker in exchange for a couple more water chips and a stockpile of automatic weapons. Scholar’s seen the future and he knows what Vault needs most. It’s clear Dekker is in league with Mutants, who are the ones with a real interest in Hero and Female.
• Max turns table, puts a secretly stashed gun to Female’s head. He now has what Mutants want, and he wants G.E.C.K. Hero and Female are shocked by this betrayal. Dekker refuses to be cut out of this deal -- Max can never trade again at the Hub. Max doesn’t plan to... and cuts Dekker out of the deal with a bullet to the heart. Something he’s wanted to do for years. Max thinks he holds all the cards now, but the Mutants want more than the three humans for a G.E.C.K. They want the location of bountiful V-13, something Max agrees to give them only when he has the G.E.C.K. and safe passage back to his ATV. A deal is struck, sealed with a hateful loogie from the Female Officer down Max’s cheek.
• Hero and Female and Scholar are taken away by Mutants, who inhabit the vast underground parking lots and tunnels beneath shopping center. In remnants of adjacent Cedar Sinai, our three scouts are made captive in a medical lab holding cell. Scholar rationalizes his traitorous decision as what was right for Vault 13. When Mutants come, he volunteers to go first. When tortured, though, he quickly surrenders V-13 location. Hero and Female watch in horror as Scholar is prepared for dipping in Forced Evolution Virus by the fearsome Master, the leader of Mutants. Turns out the Master could not afford to buy into a vault. So he created the F.E.V. to adapt fallout survivors like himself to hostile radiation conditions. The formula worked and superhuman side effects were a pleasant surprise. But we learn that Mutants are also sterile and need humans to sustain their numbers. This is why the Master turned the basin into a jungle with stolen G.E.C.K.s. LA is just a cattle field for humans, an inviting oasis amidst the wasteland. The F.E.V. converts humans to superhuman Mutants in hours. Master has been testing all sorts of genetic combinations for years, but our heroes represent his last chance at creating pure bloodlines to mate as fertile, mutated Adam and Eve. A chance to start the perfect master race.
• Meanwhile, Max is led to a huge Mutant warehouse filled with everything they’ve pillaged from vaults over the years. Max is given a G.E.C.K., but it’s defective. Mutants don’t care, they already have V-13 location from Scholar. Max takes matters into his own hands and outwits, then kills Mutants. Now he has access to their vast storehouse of amazing weapons…
• While Hero and Female are led to F.E.V. dipping vat, Max uses a turbo-plasma rifle (which liquefies organic tissue) to infiltrate heavily guarded Vat Room… rescuing Hero and Female at last second. According to Max, this was his plan all along. Hero and Female have no choice but to trust him now – he’s got a water chip to prove his sincerity. The F.E.V. vats are destroyed -- but the Scholar has already been dipped. Can’t be saved. As Mutants close in, our heroes help Max blast their way out of this underground labyrinth, using explosives to keep sealing off the tunnels behind them. His empire crumbling all around him, the Master tells the Scholar-Mutant he has a plan...
• The terrified Valet is still keeping Max’s seat warm when our trio comes for the ATV. But as they race out of the jungle, Mutants in armed vehicles follow in hot pursuit. A lethal, high-speed car chase ensues on the twisted remains of the freeway system, with Mutants waiting at every turn. Amazingly, the Mutants seem to give up their chase at Mulholland Drive, at the edge of the LA basin...
• Our heroes finally make it back to Vault 13. Understandably, the Hero and the Female think they are saviors. But when communication is initiated with vault interior, the Overseer rejects their re-entry. Truth is, they have all the water chips they need – this was about purifying their collective conscious. “Discontent is contagious. Worst disease known to Vault Dwellers.” Hero’s Father starts an uproar of disapproval amongst Elders -- clearly the Overseer is acting unilaterally.
• With trio trapped outside Vault-13 entrance, the Scholar-Mutant has led Master and an army of dozens of Mutants back to Vault 13 for ambush. Trio fends them off outside… until Hero’s Intended starts to open vault for Hero’s return. The Overseer orders her to stop, but she won’t... so he kills her. For the good of the vault. But the Hero’s father finishes what the Intended started and lets the trio back inside. He challenges the Overseer’s authority and implores the other Elders to help him arm the populace...
• Ironically, the “social revolution” the Overseer sought to keep suppressed in his idyllic vault now erupts as a desperate battle for survival. With dozens of Mutants on attack, most vault dwellers die, including Hero’s father, who dies in son’s arms, so proud of what he’s become. During the battle, the Overseer is destroyed by the Master, who recognizes him as the creator of these vaults. The one who started WWIII 50 years ago.
• As the battle winds down, the Hero bravely takes on the superhuman Scholar-Mutant. Using his knowledge of the vault, the Hero leads him into a brutal trap... crushing him beneath the subway car. Meanwhile, Max and the Female double-team to defeat the Master.
• When the dust has settled inside the vault only a handful of humans have survived. Hero honors his deal with Max – even though the G.E.C.K. now represents Vault 13’s best hope for survival above ground. Max offers to let what’s left of V-13 join him, but Hero doesn’t think the survivors are ready for the world above yet -- he’s not even sure he’s ready to go back. Female Officer is torn over staying or going, but she decides to stay, with her people.
• As Max leaves vault with his G.E.C.K., the Master is playing possum… and injects Max with the last strain of FEV. Hero intervenes and kills Master once and for all. But Max will become something awful soon. Max wants Hero to kill him -- he’d do it himself but he can feel that the virus won’t let him. Heartbroken, the Female won’t let Hero do it. But the Hero takes charge. This is one of those tough decisions a good leader has to make. Hero won’t let Max’s death be in vain...
• Outside the Vault 13 entrance, the Female waits with the group of 50 scared survivors – all that’s left of the vault. They are packed to travel. From below, we hear a single gunshot. Moments later, our Hero emerges with the G.E.C.K. He is going to lead this group to find new home. He’s going to fulfill Max’s dream. The Female Officer looks in admiration at the leader our Hero has become. What began as animosity between peers has become mutual respect... with the promise of so much more.
• In the final montage, we see that the vault dwellers have settled in a peaceful arroyo where the Hero initiates the G.E.C.K., turning this little portion of the Earth into a lush paradise. The New Eden. Life begins anew. And the final image has our Hero and the Female, truly the new Adam and Eve, with children now, fishing in a stream… catching a real, live fish.