The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin confirms that the video game’s Cordyceps spores could appear in future episodes of the HBO series.
The following contains spoilers for The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 2, “Infected,” now streaming on HBO and HBO Max.
The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin recently refused to rule out the possibility that Cordyceps spores will appear in future episodes, following backlash over their absence from the show to date.
Mazin discussed the controversial decision to replace spores with tendrils in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Part of the issue with the spores is that you run into them quite a bit in the game, although not as much as people think, and if there were that many spores and they were airborne, that infection’s gonna go even faster,” Mazin said. “It’s hard to imagine how anyone escapes it, and people would probably be wearing masks all the time. In the game, the second you leave a spore space, you’re like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! Get a mile away.'”
“I don’t necessarily think we’ve eliminated spores from the universe of our show,” Mazin continued. “We just haven’t gotten there yet. It’s possible that they may come back. We may have a plan, is my point.” Mazin and The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann explained the rationale behind replacing spores with tendrils in a previous interview, saying that they were keen to avoid retreading the “zombie bite” trope popular in the post-apocalyptic genre. Mazin added that the word “spores” is still included in dialogue in The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 2, “Infected,” leaving the door open for the show to explore this aspect of the video game’s canon in the future.
The Last of Us Co-Creator Talks Fan Backlash
In the same interview, Druckmann addressed the passionate response from many The Last of Us fans to the inclusion of Cordyceps tendrils in the show, saying it reflected their strong attachment to the franchise. “I think it speaks to the kind of fans that we have, who are so protective and love the world and these characters so much that anything they see as a deviation, without the full context of what it means, they assume the worst and push back on it,” he said. At the same time, Druckmann insisted that the tendrils were a “worthwhile” addition to the Last of Us universe and said he wished they were in the game.
Regardless of whether viewers love them or hate them, the Cordyceps tendrils are responsible for several of the most memorable moments in The Last of Us adaptation so far. Notably, they play a key role in the death of Anna Torv’s Tess, after she locks lips with a clicker creature in a scene that Mazin labeled “nightmare fuel.”
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