Why The Last Of Us Won't Run Into The Game Of Thrones 'Problem'

"The Last of Us," an HBO Max original series adapted from the critically acclaimed Naughty Dog video game, is only a handful of days from release. The story, which follows Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsay), sees the unlikely duo form a grudging father-and-child relationship as they struggle to survive the zombie-infested wasteland that was once America. For those who haven't played "The Last of Us Part I," the core relationship isn't just a part of the narrative, it is the narrative. Sure, there are swarms of zombies (in this case, fungal monstrosities based on the very real cordyceps genus of fungi) milling around, but they're just the backdrop. 

There are plenty of reasons to be excited for "The Last of Us." Neil Druckmann (the co-president of Naughty Dog and the creative mind behind "The Last of Us Part I" and one of the many behind "The Last of Us Part II") is credited as one of the HBO Max original series' primary writers. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the voice actors behind Joel and Ellie (respectively) in the video games, are prominently featured as side characters. 

Druckmann and Craig Mazin, co-creator and co-author and executive producer for the upcoming adaptation, just gave fans one more reason to be excited: Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, they promised that "The Last of Us" won't fall pray to the same trap that drove a fatal spike between "Game of Thrones" and its fan base. 

The Last of Us will be The Last of Us and nothing more

In an explorative interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin spoke of many things. They delved into the impetus for "The Last of Us" becoming a HBO Max original series, the looming threat of potential fan backlash (something Druckmann and his stories are deeply familiar with), and the casting process that ultimately lead to Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay. Perhaps most interesting of all, or at the very least most refreshing, is how the two discussed a core tenet they carried with them throughout the creative process. Neither Druckmann nor Mazin are remotely interested in extending the shelf life of "The Last of Us" beyond the stories which are already there in Part I, Part II, and the possible Part III. 

"We have no plans to tell any stories beyond adapting the games," said Druckmann. "We won't run into the same issue as 'Game of Thrones' since 'Part II' doesn't end on a cliffhanger." Mazin went a step further by framing any production which continues beyond the logical ending point as having failed a critical step in the narrative journey. "I don't have any interest in a spinning-plates-go-on-forever show," said Mazin. "When it becomes a perpetual motion machine, it just can't help but get kind of ... stupid. Endings mean everything to me."

In this, "The Last of Us" fans should be able to breathe a sigh of relief, as there is seemingly no threat of pointless seasons or "supplementary" arcs for the sake of extending the run time. That's not to say that the HBO Max adaptation will be a one-to-one remake of the video game but that any and all changes will be made to service the narrative, not the studio.