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The Last of Us is HBO‘s hottest new show, a post-apocalyptic drama based on the hugely popular video game. Only a handful of episodes have premiered to date. But fans are fully invested — even those who never played the award-winning video game.

The Last of Us showrunners are looking ahead to what the future of the show holds, while viewers are learning everything they can about the series’ filmmaking process. A recent report details the changes the production team made to The Last of Us at the last minute. These revisions highlighted the show’s strong family element.

‘The Last of Us’ starts by showcasing a tight family unit

Lamar Johnson, Jeffrey Pierce, Storm Reid, Nico Parker, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Merle Dandridge, and Gabriel Luna smiles at the LA premiere Of HBO's "The Last Of Us"
The Last of Us cast Lamar Johnson, Jeffrey Pierce, Storm Reid, Nico Parker, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Merle Dandridge, and Gabriel Luna | Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

The first episode of The Last of Us provides much-needed backstory and context for the show. It set a scene that draws viewers into Joel’s world. Just as in the game, viewers discover the story from the perspective of Sarah, Joel’s young daughter.

According to PlayStation Blog, co-creator Neil Druckmann had a specific reason for wanting fans to start the story through Sarah’s eyes. “The fact that you’re seeing it through a very innocent child made everything creepier, scarier, and that became the north star,” he explained.

Although Druckmann spoke of the game, the same dynamics held true for the first episode. As viewers watch Sarah interact with her father Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Joel’s brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna), they developed strong attachments to the characters. The setup in the first episode makes the conclusion of the first episode that much more tragic.

Reshoots for ‘The Last of Us’ improved and highlighted Tommy’s role

There’s no doubt that the debut episode of The Last of Us is intense and emotional. But it wasn’t originally so hard-hitting. In the PlayStation Blog interview, Druckmann and co-creator Craig Mazin revealed that they ended up doing reshoots in order to give more insights into the family dynamics.

“That breakfast scene is one of those scenes that initially when we shot it, Tommy wasn’t there, and we had a budget to reshoot some of the stuff in the pilot, and that’s one of those ideas that we came up with,” Druckmann said, as Inverse reports.

The scene where Tommy calls Joel from jail to bail him out was also added as part of the reshoots. “You see pretty quickly that Tommy’s more than capable of taking care of himself, in fact, it’s Tommy who saves Joel’s life,” Mazin said. “And that interesting concept of who needs saving and who’s going to do the saving is a theme that we will bring up over and over and over.”

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Fortunately, fans will be able to see how Mazin and Druckmann choose to expand on the relationship between Tommy and Joel, since the series was recently officially renewed for a second season, according to Variety.

Before the announcement, Druckmann and Mazin sat down with The Hollywood Reporter, giving some rare insight into their inspiration and vision for the show. “I don’t have any interest in a spinning-plates-go-on-forever show,” Mazin said. The publication drew parallels to The Walking Dead, AMC’s pop-culture phenomenon that many critics slammed for going on well past its expiration date.


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“When it becomes a perpetual motion machine, it just can’t help but get kind of…stupid. Endings mean everything to me.”

Druckmann agreed, telling The Hollywood Reporter “We have no plans to tell any stories beyond adapting the games.” What lies ahead for The Last of Us remains to be seen, but clearly many fans are on board to see what Mazin and Druckmann come up with.