Ending Could Have Been Different for ‘The Last of Us’ Season 1

It is likely that followers of The Last of Us are still processing the devastating events that transpired during the final episode of the series. The depiction of Joel’s brutal destruction of the Fireflies to rescue Ellie from being experimented on by the surgeon is a scene that will linger in viewers’ memories as they anticipate the following season. Neil Druckmann, co-creator, and showrunner, has already provided some hints about what viewers can expect in the upcoming season, including introducing a new character named Abby Anderson. Despite these clues about the future, there have been reports that the first season could have concluded differently.

Craig Mazin, one of the co-showrunners, recently addressed rumors about banning the word “Z” on the set after the season finale aired. He also disclosed that there was an alternative ending for the finale that could have been used. According to Mazin, episode director Ali Abbasi suggested a slightly longer and more melancholic conclusion, where Ellie would respond with a simple “okay,” and then turn and walk away. Joel watched her go as they both walked, separately, toward Jackson. The scene would linger before fading away, and it had a certain beauty, according to Mazin’s interview with GQ.

In the first season’s conclusion, Joel and Ellie are shown walking towards the Jackson settlement, which differs from the depiction in the original game. Despite their deviations from the source material, showrunners Druckmann and Craig have maintained that their changes do not contradict the game. For the finale, the decision was made to stick to the source material’s ending, according to Craig, the writer of Chernobyl. The production team had to grapple with the question of whether to give viewers the exact ending of the game or offer something different. They debated whether game players would be more upset by a departure from the original story or by getting an identical conclusion. Ultimately, they decided to conclude the season with a close-up of Ellie, leaving viewers in suspense about what comes next. Craig explained that there was something significant about that final moment, as it captures Ellie’s emotions and actions, which are left open to interpretation.

As fans eagerly anticipate the second season of The Last of Us, it is essential to keep in mind that it will be quite some time before we can return to the post-apocalyptic world infested with Cordyceps. Show star Bella Ramsey has indicated that the second season’s release will likely be towards the end of next year or early 2025. These statements align with those made by Ramsey’s co-star Pedro Pascal to Collider, where he confirmed that production for The Last of Us’ second season would commence at the end of this year.

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