After Fallout, will we get an Elder Scrolls TV show? Don't count on it...yet

Bethesa director Todd Howard is happy with the Fallout TV show, but what about other games from his studio? He's cautious about making a Skyrim or Elder Scrolls show or movie.
Ella Purnell, Michael Emerson, Dale Dickey in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC
Ella Purnell, Michael Emerson, Dale Dickey in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

Prime Video has dropped the first season of Fallout, a new TV show based on the post-apocalyptic role-playing games from Bethesda. And at least from where we're sitting, it's a hit. The show is funny, fun, dangerous and exciting.

Once upon a time, movies and TV shows based on video games were assumed to be terrible unless proven otherwise. Movies like Prince of Persia, Doom and Street Fighter were so consistently bad that it was safer just not to expect much. But as a new generation of producers who actually play games have risen though the ranks in Hollywood, video game adaptations have been getting much better, to the point where they look poised to overtake superhero movies as the next big trend. Think of the critical and commercial success of The Last of Us on HBO, or the smash hit that was The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Fallout is the latest in a string of success stories.

Bethesda director Todd Howard had to wait for this climate to improve before he signed on to any Fallout screen project. "This is something that I said no to for like, a decade," Howard says. "Everyone wanted to make a (Fallout) TV show or a movie, and I was like, 'nahhh.' I wasn't really feeling it," he told IGN.

The turning point came when Howard met with Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who produce the Fallout show. Bringing the series to TV allowed the creatives to go places the games couldn't, like showing us more what happened before the world ended. "[O]ne of the best things about Fallout is the world before the bombs fell. It's really unique, this post-nuclear future that we wanted to have and then it all goes wrong. And the show has the ability to show the past in a way the games never did," Howard said.

Is Bethesda working on an Elder Scrolls TV show? "There's nothing in the works."

Now that the Fallout show is a success — a second season is unconfirmed but may already be happening — the question is: will Bethesda okay any other movies or TV shows based on their work? This is, after all, the studio responsible for the Elder Scrolls fantasy role-playing games, including the hugely popular Skyrim. Would fans not go nuts for an adaptation?

"You never know if someone's gonna click," Howard mused. "But I think [Fallout] really came out of, 'We think things are aligning to do a high-quality job.' [Fallout] wasn't forced. It was kind of a natural relationship and 'Hey, this sounds really cool.' As opposed to, 'We should have a show,' right? It never came from that."

"There's nothing [else] in the works. Everybody asks, like, about Elder Scrolls, and I keep saying no also. And I would approach those - I'll probably say no. I can't predict the future, but [Fallout] has been one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever done, and we're just kind of over the moon, everybody in the studio with seeing it this way."

This sounds like the approach; it's best to wait for an opportunity for a good Elder Scrolls show to present itself. The good news is that as producers become experienced in making high-quality video game adaptations, the likelihood of Howard getting that kind of opportunity goes up. I think we're only going to see more video game adaptations going forward, and while Howard isn't thinking about it right now, I wouldn't be surprised if we heard about a Skyrim movie or Elder Scrolls TV show before the decade is out.

dark. Next. All 8 episodes of Fallout, reviewed. All 8 episodes of Fallout, reviewed

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