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Why Are There Tendrils Instead of Spores in The Last of Us HBO? Explained

Why Are There Tendrils Instead of Spores in The Last of Us HBO? Explained
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Why Are There Tendrils Instead of Spores in The Last of Us HBO? Explained

One way or another, the infection will spread.

Few tv series based on video games have been as faithful as The Last of Us. It offers the same emotions, character arcs, and apocalyptic aesthetic that drew fans to the original game, and helps make those elements translate properly to a new medium without sacrificing what makes the series what it is. The show does make one noticeable change though, and it’s likely left you with one burning question: Why are there tendrils instead of spores in The Last of Us HBO?

We had the same question, and after doing some research, we’ve found an answer for you.

Why Did They Replace the Spores With Tendrils in The Last of Us HBO? Explained

As shown in an exclusive interview with the show’s creators done by ComicBook, there are a couple of key reasons the spores were replaced with tendrils in The Last of Us HBO series. As it turns out, both are fairly understandable in hindsight.

The first reason is that people’s understanding of pandemics has changed since the emergence of COVID. Most people know now that airborne contagions can spread far more easily than they appear to in the original Last of Us game. The creators of the show believed that this would cause them to be skeptical of a one-for-one adaptation of the game, and that the original concept of spores causing an apocalyptic outbreak would take people out of the experience.

The second reason is a more practical one: The gas masks that would have been necessary to get through areas with spores would have created issues with seeing the actors’ performances. As such, the showrunners wanted to find a means of infection that would still present a threat but wouldn’t cover up the expressions and subtle physical acting done by those playing major and minor characters alike.

Why Did They Choose Tendrils?

This is all well and good, but you’re now likely wondering: Why were tendrils chosen as the new means of infection in The Last of Us HBO series?

As it turns out, it’s because it was a means of infection Naughty Dog originally considered while designing the first Last of Us game. Though it was scrapped and replaced with Spores in the end, there were several pieces of concept art which the showrunners presumably could have used to design a new type of infection driver. Said concept art can be found via a post by Reddit user imissbreakingbad, which shows off how the tendrils would look as they gradually took over their host.

Hopefully this cleared up why there are tendrils instead of spores in The Last of Us HBO. For more on the series, check out our other articles on topics ranging from 10 shows like The Last of Us you should watch to whether or not you need to play The Last of Us to enjoy the show. We’ve also got plenty of articles related to the larger series, which you can peruse down below.

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