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HBO’s The Last of Us Creators Explain Why Violence Needs to be Significant (Spoilers)

Image Source: Liane Hentscher/HBO

HBO’s The Last of Us Creators Explain Why Violence Needs to be Significant (Spoilers)

Episode 8 is Significantly brutal.

***Last of Us Episode 8 Spoilers Below***

While HBO’s The Last of Us has been receiving almost unanimous praise from both critics and fans alike, there’s a subsection of the audience that is wondering why the adaptation seems to be lacking in violence, mostly when compared to the source material.

In a recent round table discussion following Episode 8, some of the cast and crew sat down to talk about this, as well as violence as a whole in the show. Writer and Creator Craig Mazin specifically addresses the differences between the violence in the games and show right from the jump, stating:

“When Niel (Druckman) and I were first talking about how to adapt it, we had a big discussion about violence.” he said. “When you’re playing a video game, the NPCs are a fun gameplay to puzzle; how do I get through them and around them, and violence is a part of the method of that.

In a television show, if we were constantly mowing people down, it becomes a bit numbing; violence stops being significant. There’s a moment in the game we expanded on for the show – to make the guy that Ellie shoots live to see the impact, to see you (talking to Ellie’s actor, Bella Ramsey) contemplating it.”

Ramsey goes on to explain the terror and excitement that Ellie felt regarding it, and how that affected both her and Joel’s character and relationship going forward. Alongside this, it is also discussed how parents sometimes get angry when their kids put themselves in dangerous situations, and then internalize and react to how poorly they responded.

Throughout The Last of Us, the show is constantly battling the father-daughter relationship between Joel and Ellie, while highlighting the need for violence in their lives as they constantly attempt to save one another. The focus of their talks leans towards the amount of violence they need to display – even when they have to limit the amount shown from the original video game.

Not only were the creators mindful of how they didn’t want viewers to become numb to the excessive violence associated with the video game, but they also had to display characters who have these inherent violent tendencies already instilled within them.

Lastly, the group talks about the scene where Ellie kills David. Despite the video game having more violence than the show, this specific scene is “more disturbing, it’s harder to watch.” Viewers are watching as Ellie obliterates another person and blood splatters all over her face. It speaks to the traumatic state of the world they’re living in – and why they have to make sure the violence helps tell that story perfectly.

The Last of Us Season finale airs on HBO on March 12, 2023, at 9 PM EST.

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