‘The Last of Us’ fans breathe a sigh of relief after finding out why the movie version fell apart

The Last of Us Pedro Pascal
Photo via HBO

We’re now just a few weeks out from HBO’s The Last of Us. The show adapts Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed 2013 PlayStation video game, which follows grizzled survivor Joel and teenage girl Ellie on their year-long journey across a post-apocalyptic America.

HBO has thrown a lot of money at this, with the show estimated to be the biggest-ever TV production ever filmed in Canada. With the game’s director Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl‘s Craig Mazin at the helm, hopes are high after a series of trailers that appear to perfectly capture the game’s tone.

However, it could have all been very different. A feature-length adaptation was in the pipeline in the mid-2010s, with The Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi at the helm, though this eventually fizzled out, and we may know why. In an interview with the New Yorker, Druckmann said the studio’s vision of the movie didn’t fit with the game.

Druckmann explains that studio executives were pushing for it to be “bigger and sexier”, envisaging something along the lines of World War Z. Druckmann was pushing for something similar to No Country For Old Men and had concerned about compressing the game’s epic storyline into a two-hour movie. These differences of opinion couldn’t be reconciled, and it never happened.

Horror fans are delighted this never came to pass:

Was World War Z even worth copying?

Probably another one to throw on the pile of bad video game movie adaptations:

This feels like a fair summary:

And we can’t say it better than this:

We’re very glad the lyrical and gloomy The Last of Us wasn’t turned into a rootin’ shootin’ zombie caper, so consider that a bullet dodged. All signs are looking good for the HBO version, which debuts on Jan. 15, 2023.