‘The Last of Us’ showrunner already has a finite ending point in mind

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us
Image via HBO

We’re nine days away from The Last of Us premiering on HBO, but showrunner Craig Mazin already knows how it’s going to end. Presumably, there’ll be more than one season of the much-anticipated show, providing room for Mazin and his fellow execs to decide which route to take the narrative. Despite drawing inspiration from Naughty Dog’s acclaimed 2013 video game, it might not be the case for The Last of Us to follow the same structure precisely, which leads us to presume that the ending could be drastically different too. We’re not seeing any sign of Abby until at least the second season, surely, so Mazin must have carefully accounted for every possible scenario.

In an interview with Collider, Mazin made it clear that he’s not planning to drag this out. Unlike how The Last of Us: Part II left both Ellie and Abby’s stories open-ended, Mazin wants to reach a definitive conclusion, rather than turning The Last of Us into another The Walking Dead that runs on for so long, the network is forced to put the nail in the coffin. Interestingly, since The Last of Us video game series is still ongoing with a third rumored to be in development, Mazin still claims to know exactly how and when Joel and Ellie’s stories will end.

“Oh, yeah, it’s finite. I don’t have much narrative interest in writing a show that is designed to perpetually continue until the network finally puts it out of its misery somewhere. I write to endings. Endings are everything to me. I don’t know how to write, if I don’t know how it ends. And also, if the show doesn’t have an ending, it means nothing ultimately is truly purposeful. All the stakes become empty because, if the network renews you, everything’s fine, and I don’t know how to do that. I don’t mind watching those shows. I like watching those shows. I just can’t write them. So, I have the benefit of the first game, which we have encompassed with this season, which has a real beginning and middle and end.”

That sounds promising, doesn’t it? Either way, we’ll have to place our faith in Mazin to do Naughty Dog’s franchise justice. If there’s some hiccups along the way, that’s forgivable, but the ending has a lot of expectations riding on it, given how Part II ambiguously ended.

Game of Thrones alumni Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal will portray Ellie and Joel, respectively, joined by Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Anna Torv as Tess, Storm Reid as Riley, and Merle Dandridge as Marlene. The story will borrow from Naughty Dog’s source material, following Joel and Ellie on a treacherous journey across a post-outbreak America to meet with a resistance known as the Fireflies.

Episodes begin airing from January 15 on HBO.