Warning: The video above and the following article contain spoilers for The Last of Us pilot, “When You’re Lost in the Darkness”
The Last of Us finally premiered last night to acclaim from video game fans and casual audiences alike, delivering an emotionally devastating pilot that will haunt your nightmares for many years. Now, fully aware that they haven’t botched the job, creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin are here to take you through the process of coming up with the perfect prologue, and the cast is also there to reinforce this creative vision.
The first episode of The Last of Us went pretty much as we had expected, with the story setting up the apocalypse and the Miller family struggling to survive in the midst of civil chaos. Much like the video game, Joel’s daughter Sarah dies a tragic death and sets the protagonist down a dark path, at the end of which he meets Ellie, his new protégé.
Though the television adaptation doesn’t follow the source material to a T, it does manage to touch on the most important emotional beats and even amplify them in certain areas. As Mazin and Druckmann explain in the behind-the-scenes clip, their job was to convey the emotional severity of losing a loved one, but also do a fair amount of world-building to properly set up the fictional post-apocalyptic world.
“When You’re Lost in the Darkness” ends with Joel stepping up to save Ellie, which, according to the producers, draws a direct parallel with the Cordyceps fungi and its viral characteristics.
The Last of Us has kicked off to such a powerful start that few adaptations even dare dream of, but as video game fans will probably tell you, fasten your seatbelts because this epic story is only beginning.