The Last of Us featured some noteworthy changes from Naughty Dog's hit video game, but for the most part, those were minor enough to not be an issue for the majority of fans.
That edge-of-your-seat finale definitely did the game justice, anyway, but co-showrunner Craig Mazin has told GQ (via GameFragger.com) that the episode's closing moments almost played out a little differently. While not a drastic departure from how Joel and Ellie's story wrapped up on PlayStation consoles, it would have given that scene a slightly different feel.
"The change was really more something that Ali Abbasi, our director, had been playing around with. He had this thought of just playing out this slightly longer, sadder version where Ellie says, ‘okay’, and then she turns and walks away," the writer explains. "And Joel looks after her. We see the two of them walking, not really together but apart, down towards Jackson. It lingers and then fades. There was something beautiful about it."
"Everybody was like ‘what do we do?’ And there was that meta-discussion of, are the people that played the game going to be more annoyed that they didn't get it just the way it's supposed to be, or are they gonna be more annoyed that they only got what they had before? And then how will everybody else feel? In the end, there's something very specific about ending on that close-up of Ellie. Not knowing what comes next. Not knowing what she does."
Co-showrunner Neil Druckmann would go on to say that, when they made the game, no one knew if there would be a sequel. While The Last of Us season 2 has obviously been confirmed, he argues that "it's not a cliffhanger, it's a proper ending," due to the fact it does line up with what we first saw back in 2013.
In the same interview, the duo went on to reiterate that their adaptation of The Last of Us Part II will take place over more than one season, though they declined to reveal whether it will be two or even three.
That sequel was incredibly divisive given one character's fate, but Druckmann did tease some more alterations. "Some of the stuff I'm most excited for [in Part 2] are the changes we've discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version. And I think it's exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way."
Are you excited for The Last of Us to return? Do you think they handled the finale the right way? As always, you can weigh in with your takes down in the comments section.