Why The Last of Us TV Show Made One Big Change From The Games (Exclusive)

The last of us strives to be an extremely faithful adaptation of the video game source material. After all, it is an adaptation of one of the most acclaimed and beloved video game stories. But to bring the world of the PlayStation game to HBO, a few tweaks have been made to the world and story of The last of us for various reasons. One thing gamers will recognize as not being part of the series is traces. In the games, spores linger and float in dark, enclosed spaces, waiting for a human to stumble in and become infected with the fungal virus that has wiped humanity out. Those tracks won’t be part of it The last of Us on television, a decision executive producer Craig Mazin, who previously delivered HBOs Chernobylexplained in an interview with ComicBook. com.

Mazin said to crack the story and build a world for the adaptation The last of ushe and The last of us creator Neil Druckmann noticed they asked a lot of questions. “That’s the name of the game. What do you keep and what do you duplicate? What requires tremendous fidelity? What do you have to touch and what do you allude to?” Mazin explained. “What do you want to change and do completely differently? Neil [Druckmann] and I just went through it all and sometimes as a fan I could say, ‘Hey, no, no, no, we’re not changing that. That must be the same.'”

The core parts of the story and many of the finer details make the jump to the live-action version of the story, with Pedro Pascal taking on the role of Joel and Bella Ramsey becoming Ellie. “Of course there are some big things that we know we’re keeping, of course, but then there are challenges from the game to the show that had to be taken into account,” Mazin explained. “For example little things like the spores. In the game there are these where you encounter spores and you have to put on a gas mask. In the world that we’re creating, if we put spores in the air it would be pretty obvious that they are would spread everywhere and everyone would have to wear a mask all the time and probably everyone would be completely infected by then so we challenged ourselves to come up with an interesting new way for the fungus to spread but mostly I think that we were just connected to the soul and spirit of the game He, as the creator of the game, and I, as a fan of the game, were caretakers on behalf of all the fans but also on behalf of all the people who haven’t played the game who have a television experience that is holistic and connected to itself and doesn’t feel like you have to play a game to understand it.”

Those traces are a big part of why the world ended The last of us spell. Humans would inhale them, which led to them becoming voracious, mindless, bloodthirsty monsters that only spread the virus to other humans with every violent encounter. Since the virus in the TV show is similar to that in the games, Mazin wanted to dig a little deeper to explain how and why the world fell apart as a result.

“In the games, because you’re playing as Joel, there’s really no reason for anyone to say, ‘Hey, let’s talk about something we all already know,'” Mazin explained. “But once we got into this, especially when Joel and Ellie are together and alone, her natural curiosity seemed like a great way to explore filling in some of the questions people might have while watching the show. I know that I’m a very curious person I want to know how things work I want to know why they went wrong and once Joel starts explaining and filling in some of those gaps some of the things that happen in the very first episode suddenly take on a slightly different meaning and a little bit more resonance. So I think it’s just a product of my natural curiosity. I think people want to know. You don’t want to bore people with a lot of exhibits, but again. I made a show where I got up and explained how a nuclear reactor worked. I thought, ‘Hey, I could do this again with the fungus. I can do it!'”

Are you excited for The last of us? Subscribe to ComicBook & ET’s new podcast The last pods for weekly interviews and episode discussions! The last of us will premiere on January 15.

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