The third episode of The Last of Us has been, without a doubt, the most emotional of the series so far. The audience agrees that the chapter, focused mainly on the figures of Bill and Frank, contains a great emotional charge that combines happiness with sadness. However, it is also true that, in order to raise the story between the two characters, the showrunners were forced to alter the events of the video game.
While it is true that Bill does appear in the original Naughty Dog work, it does not delve into his personal history. Likewise, Frank does not have a presence in The Last of Us Part 1. Despite the above, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann managed to create a completely new narrative around these characters, but without significantly altering the journey of Joel and Ellie.
I mention “significantly” because, if you were already able to enjoy The Last of Us Part 1, you surely remember that Ellie gets to know Bill. In The Last of Us, on the contrary, that does not happen. The character played by Nick Offerman has already died when the protagonists arrive at his home.
So… why did the showrunners dare to slightly change the events of the game? In an interview with ET, Craig Mazin said the idea came from him. Nonetheless, Neil Druckmann agreed.
Mazin’s goal was simply to give Bill a purpose. A deeper one with real meaning for everything that happens in a post-apocalyptic world. He also noted that he decided to go down a more complex narrative path because, in The Last of Us Part 1, the sequence with Bill is almost entirely a playable experience. This can hardly be adapted.
“It was something I pitched to Neil because I thought there was an opportunity there. In Bill’s section of the game, a lot of it is gameplay based, and obviously we don’t have that. [en la serie]. But Bill was unique. He had created a safe environment and I was fascinated with the idea of having someone who had eliminated the main problem and was safe. But then what?
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It was at that moment that Mazin thought of Bill having some kind of love relationship to further develop it. “I loved that there was this hint of a relationship, and I suggested that we show something else. I wanted to present what love was like as a product of commitment. What it was like to be middle-aged and in love. I also wanted to capture the passage of time and a conclusion that showed us both sides of what love is.”
In the end, the creator was able to achieve an episode that was as wonderful as it was emotional. Also, the purpose Bill found in meeting Frank carries over perfectly to Joel and Ellie. In the last moments of the chapter, Pedro Pascal’s character understands that it is worth taking the risk and protecting the minor. This is how both, as the first season of The Last of Us passes, will manage to create a bond similar to that of father and daughter.