Worry not, The Last of Us fans, because producer Craig Mazin is here to reassure us the HBO adaptation won’t mess with the Naughty Dog game in at least one major way. We learned back in March Chernobyl creator Mazin was working with The Last of Us franchise creator Neil Druckmann on a live-action TV adaptation of the post-apocalyptic game. Since then, news about the adaptation has come out in bits and pieces, including confirmation of the pilot episode director and who will score the show.
In a recent interview for BBC Radio 5 Live’s Chernobyl special, Mazin discussed a new detail about his next HBO project: How the TV adaptation will deal with the ending of the original game. Without giving any spoilers about what he and Druckmann have in mind, Mazin eases any concerns fans might have. He tells BBC Radio 5:
“I think fans of something worry that, when the property gets licensed to someone else, those people don’t really understand it, or are going to change it. In this case, I’m doing it with the guy who did it [Druckmann], and so the changes that we’re making are designed to fill things out and expand, not to undo, but rather to enhance.”
Mazin carefully expanded on his comments, hinting to BBC Radio 5 the new narrative path the HBO live-action series will forge could be just as divisive as the ending of the Last of Us game. (Oh boy.) Here are Mazin’s comments exactly:
“We’re creating anew and we’re also reimagining what is already there to present a different format. It’s kind of a dream come true for me. I’m a little bit scared because a lot of emotions connected to this game are rather intense. I think I’m probably going to go hide in a bunker for a while because you can’t make everyone happy!”
In an interesting twist, Mazin also revealed the HBO TV adaptation could potentially include storylines and events previously considered for inclusion in the game.
“Neil, at one point, he’s like, ‘You know, there was one thing we were talking about for a while,’ and then he told me what it was. I was like, ‘Well, that’s going in. You couldn’t stop me from doing that.’ So we’re doing that. And there’s quite a few things like that where it’s not like, ‘Oh, we just decided, oh, wouldn’t it be cool if there was one episode where Joel and Ellie get on motorcycles and confront a motorcycle gang?’ That’s not what we do. There’s no episodic nonsense here. This is all pretty much curated. The things that are new and enhancing of the storyline we’re doing are connected in organic, serious ways that fans and newcomers alike will appreciate.”
Mazin’s confirmation the show is seeking to honor what the game has set down while also doing something different is a comforting update. What will be interesting to see, however, is exactly what ending Druckmann has in mind to enhance the story. Previously, it was confirmed the Mazin/Druckmann adaptation will also include plot points from The Last of Us II in their series and there have been hints at a possible multi-season arc.
Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.