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The Fallout TV show just revealed the canon origins of Vault Boy’s signature thumbs up

When you think of Fallout, the first image that probably comes to mind is a grinning Vault Boy, decked out in his trademark blue and yellow jumpsuit, giving you the thumbs up. As the mascot of Vault-Tec, the character appears in everything from television adverts to product manuals – in fact, across both the games and the marketing surrounding them, Vault Boy is impossible to avoid. He is everywhere.

But why is he usually pictured giving us all that big thumbs up? Well, that’s something gamers have questioned over the years, but no definitive answer has ever been given. There have of course been several rumors including that he’s meant to be a reassuring presence, it helps to measure the cloud of a nuclear bomb, and even more simply, that he has a positive attitude. Nothing has ever been confirmed though, until now.

Enter Amazon Prime Video’s Fallout TV show which finally resolves this long-running mystery – and the answer probably isn’t what you were expecting. Be warned, spoilers follow.

Why does Vault Boy give the thumbs up?

Via flashback scenes, we learn that Walton Goggins’ gun-slinging character The Ghoul is actually a man named Cooper Howard who, pre-nuclear war, worked as an actor. In fact, he was quite a famous one. As he tells audiences himself, he’s a “star of the stage and screen”.

In-between his various film and TV jobs, Cooper decides to help his wife Barb out by shooting an advert for the company she works for, which, of course, is Vault-Tec. We then see him don one of those famous blue and yellow jumpsuits himself to film the commercial. Whilst dressed up, Cooper also poses for various photos and yes, at this point he suggests that he gives the camera thumbs up, which the Vault-Tec employees watching on absolutely love.

Whilst we don’t actually see the company use these photographs to create the cartoon mascot, it can be safely assumed that they were rather taken with Cooper’s thumbs up pose, using that as a basis for Vault Boy’s signature move.

And meet Codsworth!

The TV show doesn’t just depict the origin of Vault Boy too, as we also learn more about another popular character from the Fallout games – Codsworth. This robot can be found in the Commonwealth during Fallout 4 and is a domestic model of a type of droid called Mister Handy.

Before the series debuted, it had been revealed that beloved English comedic actor Matt Berry (who is probably best known for his role of Laszlo Cravensworth in What We Do In The Shadows) would be playing a character called ‘Mr. Handy’, but it was unclear exactly what his connection to the droid would be.

Well, at first we hear Berry as the voice of Codsworth, when the Ghoul drops off Ella Purnell’s Lucy at the Super Duper Mart hoping to exchange her for various vials of drugs he requires to stay alive (typically called ‘chems’). It’s an amusing performance as the polite robot informs Lucy he’s going to chop her up (‘snippy snip’) in order to harvest her organs, something which naturally doesn’t go down well with our hero, who successfully fights back.

And then, later on in the show via a flashback scene Berry pops up again, this time in person as an actor friend of Cooper Howard’s. During their conversation, Berry’s character revealed that Vault-Tec paid him to voice their Mister Handy series of robots, hence that’s who we hear when we meet Codsworth! Rather amusingly too, his pay cheque for that was pretty far off what Cooper received for his work with the company…

Fallout, starring Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, Walton Goggins, and Kyle MacLachlan, is now streaming on Prime Video. For more, check out the rest of our coverage:

Fallout TV showFallout TV show stars and creators on working with Todd Howard: “It means a lot to get his approval”The Fallout TV show went the extra mile – by creating a real-life Pip-Boy for its cast to useFallout TV show star Walton Goggins intentionally chose not to play Fallout, even after getting the jobFallout cast watched Twitch and YouTube streams of the games before filming: “Watching people play was vital”Kyle MacLachlan immediately sells us on Fallout – by comparing it to two of his greatest works: Twin Peaks and Blue VelvetFallout release scheduleFallout season 1 review: “A big Vault Boy-style thumbs up”Is the Fallout TV show canon? Here’s what Bethesda’s Todd Howard and the showrunners have to sayFallout season 1 ending explained: Hank, Bud’s Buds, and *that* finale locationWhen does the Fallout TV show take place on the series timeline?Will there be a Fallout season 2?All of the Fallout Easter eggs we spotted in the TV showFallout’s finale may have just answered the centuries-old mystery behind who started the nuclear apocalypseFallout season 2 sets up [SPOILER] as a major season 2 location

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