In the “Fallout” video games, there are various types of Ghouls. All of them are irradiated humans that populate the post-nuclear wasteland, but some have become rabid while others have retained their humanity, even as their bodies endure radiation-induced decay. The noseless beings can be encountered simply by roaming the wasteland, accosting players and attempting to devour their flesh for sustenance. But the non-rabid ghouls are also found in many of the games’ makeshift cities, providing help and setting side quests for players.

In the Prime Video series, there are examples of both kinds, but in Goggins’ character’s case, not only did the show creators decide to keep The Ghoul character “hot,” they ensured the itinerant rogue retained his memories and humanity, despite being 200 years old. The result is a character that is neither antagonist or protagonist. The Ghoul occupies one of the many gray areas thrown up by the series’ post-apocalyptic circumstances, demonstrating a ruthless and calculating side while also revealing himself to be a product of tragedy.

The Ghoul’s former, pre-nuclear persona was that of Cooper Howard, a Western movie star whose wife, Barb (Frances Turner), was a Vault-Tec employee working to construct the vaults that would protect citizens against the impending nuclear blast. The opening scene of the series depicts Howard and his daughter, Janey (Teagan Meredith), witnessing the first bombs drop on Los Angeles before escaping on horseback. But the version of Howard we meet some 200 years later is a much different character. Exhumed from the ground by a trio of bounty hunters, Howard is revealed to have become The Ghoul, a noseless, decaying, ruthless, intelligent gunslinger. Creating the look to accompany that persona, however, proved to be a complex and involved process.

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