Last of Us HBO series writer explains why movie format didn’t work out

Michael Gwilliam
The Last of Us on HBO

The Last of Us TV writer Craig Mazin delved into the upcoming HBO show in an interview with BBC and explained they opted for a series format instead of a movie.

Speaking with the BBC, Mazin discussed his work on Chernobyl before the conversation shifted to The Last of Us.

Mazin was asked about how the series format will allow the audience to go “further and further” into the story, which thus far has consisted of two games and why they decided a HBO show was the right fit.

“For a time they were trying to make a movie of it. And I can understand why it didn’t work out, because the ‘joy’ of a story like The Last of Us is in its length,” Mazin explained. “It’s a journey and it’s a slow creation of a relationship.”

Ellie gasps at the HBO logo
HBO announced a Last of Us TV series on March 5.

The Last of Us is about relationships

The first The Last of Us game is primarily about how the bond between protagonists Joel and Ellie grows and blossoms before it ultimately becomes increasingly complicated at the story’s climax.

“We understand inherently that relationships that are earned over time are more precious and more deserving to fence,” he added. “So it had to be in this format. And without question, we intend to deepen peoples’ connection…”

According to Mazin, The Last of Us HBO series will be introducing the franchise to a lot of new people who don’t know the story, but for those who have played the game, their intention is that the series won’t “violate” what they loved about it to begin with.

Joel states at Ellie
Joel and Ellie are the main characters in The Last of Us.

Mazin teases jaw-dropping moments

Mazin then briefly hinted at something special that Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann has planned for the show.

“Neil at one point, he’s like ‘you know, there’s one thing we were talking about for awhile,’ and then he told me what it was and I was like ‘gonk!’ Okay, jaw-dropped, that’s going in,” he laughed. “For sure, we have to do that. You couldn’t stop me from doing that. You will have to shoot me to stop me from doing that.”

Mazin added that there’s “quite a few things like that” and they aren’t story pieces that were added on the fly. An example he gave was having Ellie and Joel get on motorcycles and confront a gang. “That’s not what we do. There’s no episodic nonsense here. This is all very much curated, but the things that are new and enhancing of the story that we’re doing are connected in organic, serious ways.”

At the moment, the show is still in the writing process and no release date is set, but we can’t wait to see what the series looks like once it’s finally all said and done.