How HBO’s The Last of Us Accomplished Episode 1’s Saddest Moment

Joel and Sarah from HBO Max's The Last of Us


A new featurette for The Last of Us’ first episode provides new details on how the cast and crew re-created the original game’s most tragic sequence.


The following contains spoilers for The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 1, which premiered Sunday, Jan. 15 on HBO.

A new behind-the-scenes featurette for the premiere episode of HBO’s The Last of Us has dropped online, showing fans how the cast and crew adapted Sarah’s death for live-action.


In the clip released on YouTube, co-creator Craig Mazin said it was crucial for viewers to feel as though Nico Parker’s Sarah Miller could be the series lead for her death scene to have an even greater impact. “It was important for us to present the audience with a Sarah we could follow for the rest of the series,” he said. “She’s almost the protagonist until disaster strikes, something that Nico Parker and Pedro Pascal pulled off gorgeously.”

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Mazin and The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann notably expanded Sarah’s role in their onscreen adaptation. Druckmann’s original game starts with Sarah asleep on the couch, waiting for Joel to come home from work before gifting him his repaired watch. In contrast, the pilot for the HBO series shows audiences the rest of the day leading up to the game’s opening, complete with expanded interactions between Sarah, Joel, Tommy and the Millers’ neighbors.


Tragedy Hits Home for Pedro Pascal’s Joel

Sarah’s sudden death is, as Pascal puts it, “the event that shapes [Joel] for the rest of the show, for the rest of his life. It is the point of identity for Joel.” To elicit the raw emotion necessary for the iconic moment, Pascal and Parker opted for minimal rehearsal time. “I think we both kind of wanted to savor all of the passion and everything,” Parker said. “The emotion there is heartbreaking, and it’s ugly,” Mazin added. “The way she dies is not pretty. It’s not meant to be pretty. Her death is the fulcrum point for everything.”

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Fans seem to be taken with Mazin and Druckmann’s new take, praising the show’s accuracy of signature moments from the original game while also appreciating its expanded sequences. “The first episode of The Last of Us puts every other video game adaptation to shame,” one fan tweeted. “It’s completely faithful to the game while adding just enough original content to keep it fresh and exciting.” Another praised Parker’s take on Sarah, writing, “the last of us is perfectly casted so far but nico parker’s performance as sarah was phenomenal. THAT scene broke me.”

Mazin recently responded to the positive fan reception. “…THANK YOU for all the wonderful reactions and passion you’ve shown for the show, Mazin wrote on Reddit. “Honestly, we’re all blown away over here, and I’m particularly pleased because I think the series just gets better and better as it goes… so THANK YOU ALL.”

Episode 1 of The Last of Us is available on HBO Max, while Episode 2 drops on Jan. 23.

Source: YouTube



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