The Last of Us showrunner explains what it was like to delve into one of the game’s biggest romances and why it changed its story for the small screen.
This article contains SPOILERS for the third chapter of The Last of Us.
Fans of the game will be no strangers to the tragic story of bill and frankone of the chapters in the journey of joel and ellie which is especially characterized by Bill’s interaction and the mystery of Frank’s departure.
However, beyond making a direct adaptation of the The Last of Us for HBO, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have once again chosen to expand the story and deepen their characters, also changing the conclusion for both of them in the process. Therefore, during an interview with Colliderthe showrunner has broken down exactly why these changes occurred and how they affect Joel’s journey.
Hope at the end of the world
In the original version of The Last of Us, Bill is part of the direct story of Joel and Ellie. Well, not exactly being his friend, but finding herself on more of a negotiating ground, Joel and Bill manage to settle on the same terms to get the protagonists to get a vehicle with which to leave.
During the search, Ellie and Joel find Frank’s hanging body.and although Bill does not delve too deeply into the relationship between the two, she clarifies that she still loves him despite the difficulties they have faced.
The twist in the game is that Frank’s suicide letter is made to hurt Bill, which pushes him through a tragic and lonely ending where Bill asks Joel to be different from him and agree to change if you don’t want to lose everything.
Regarding the series, history has changed a lot starting from the fact that Frank (Murray Bartlett) and Bill (Nick Offerman) decide to end their lives together.after living side by side as a couple for more than a decade.
According to Craig Mazin, the key to this was in modify the meaning of the couple in the eyes of Joel (Pedro Pascal)going from being a “reflection” of how tragic it can be if it doesn’t change, open the door to “a new hope even in the worst case scenario”.
“I thought maybe, being able to disconnect Bill from Joel and Ellie, we could expand on this game nod to his relationship with Frank, and maybe give him a radically different ending.the showrunner explained.
“I called Neil and said, ‘I have a risky idea. What if Bill is no longer the dark omen about Joel’s possible future, but a symbol of hope, that even in this world, as terrible and dangerous as it is, there is a chance to find positive love, and achieve a relationship? successful in the long run.
Craig Mazin, Collider
A bigger impact on Joel?
For Joel, the message of hope would have to make sense, according to Mazin. For after the devastating loss of his daughter on the day of the infection, and the death of Tess (Anna Torv) later, it has pushed him to shut down more than ever.
Seeing Bill and Frank being able to maintain a strong relationship, or at least on better terms than the original version, could prove that love can survive and endure even in a shattered world.
In this regard, Mazin explains how all kinds of love —from care and affection to protective and vengeful forms—are at the heart of The Last of Usand how Druckmann accepted the idea of reflecting it through Bill and Frank.
I have been in a committed relationship for 25 years. I know what that affection is and a different kind of love, a different style of commitment and sharing.” commented the showrunner “Bill and Frank were our chance to create an ellipsis from the Day of the Apocalypse to where we are now, and also show a triumph and a victory and delve into two basic archetypes of love.”
“There is a kind of love that focuses on giving and nurturing, as Frank says “paying attention to things is how we show love”. And then there is the other, who is protective, violent and, if necessary, even vengeful to keep the people you love and love.”
Craig Mazin, Collider
“Those two kinds of love are going to appear again and again in the series” the showrunner continued, “Bill and Frank’s relationship became a kind of codex for me, in how we’re going to keep printing it over and over again.”