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“I think people should keep running with it”: The Last of Us Creators Confirm ‘Bread Theory’, Hint Major Deviation From Original Game For Fungal Outbreak

“I think people should keep running with it”: The Last of Us Creators Confirm ‘Bread Theory’, Hint Major Deviation From Original Game For Fungal Outbreak

This article contains spoilers for HBO’s The Last of Us

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have taken it upon themselves to fill the void that one of the most popular video games in the world intentionally left behind. Already being hailed as an epitome of video game adaptations, The Last of Us has been anything but a joyride ever since its debut on January 15th. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As expected, the duo honored the source and did right by the game but despite the popularity of the narrative, there were a few plot holes that needed to be filled, and in doing so, The Last of Us creators revealed exactly how the outbreak had spread into the world, turning Joel and Ellie’s world into an episode from The Walking Dead.

The Last of Us
The Last of Us introduces the origin story in Episode 2

Also read: Did HBO Nail the Adaptation of The Last of Us?

The Last of Us Creators Lend a Backstory to the Outbreak

In one of the more surprising turns of events, there now exists a live-action adaptation of The Last of Us and a creator-director duo who are capable of not ruining the said adaptation into a horrible recounting of the stories established by globally famed and universally loved IP. By building the narrative in a way that’s exclusively unique to the HBO series, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann offer a peek behind the curtains as to how the fungal outbreak had originally led to the global pandemic – a plot point that was otherwise left out from the game. In an interview with Variety, the duo claimed:

“When [Ibu Ratna] talks about where these people worked and what was going on in that factory — yeah, it’s pretty clear that’s what’s going on. We liked the idea of that science, and we try as best we can to make sure that our research all connects. [The mycologist] asks where it happened, and the guy says a flour factory on the west side of the city. We are absolutely talking about — there is the world’s largest flour mill in Jakarta — so that’s a fine theory and I think people should keep running with it.”

The Last of Us creators explore the flour theory
The Last of Us creators explore the flour theory

Also read: Brutal Moments From The Last of Us That The Show May Include

The Last of Us has multiple reasons to succeed, one of the leading causes being its incredible cinematography, the dark, imposing, and moody tone that reflects the original visuals of the game, and the fluid manner in which the narrative proceeds to slowly build up to the core plot without it seeming forced and rushed.

But it is via moments like these (i.e. the origin sequence set at Jakarta) that the creators reveal how the series can be instinctive, travel outside the set boundaries of the game, respect the source, but also do right by the audience – a combination that many have failed to achieve before Mazin and Druckmann came along.

The Idea Behind the Origin Story of the Cordyceps Outbreak

The interviewer at Variety implies – People noticed in the first episode that Joel and Sarah avoided eating foods with flour in them, like the birthday cake, pancakes, and the neighbor’s biscuits. Jakarta also has one of the world’s largest flour mills, which seems to connect the fungus spread with the contaminated flour.” 

This theory began as a suggestion and a hint, all adapted from a single idea laid down in a scene from within the game which shows Sarah picking up a newspaper citing reports of contaminated food. That report provided Mazin and Druckmann with the impetus to explore the chain of thought, and even though it was brief, the opening sequence of Episode 2 managed to establish an adequately expanded backstory mixed with just the right amount of impending dread, and give the fans a precursor and an origin point for all the ensuing chaos.

The Last of Us explores the origin of the outbreak
The Last of Us explores the origin of the outbreak

Also read: “They don’t want to come back”: The Last of Us Creator Was Afraid Fans Might Not Return to Watch Series Before Making One Major Change

According to Mazin, the idea for expanding the story of the game into pages devoted to exploring the outbreak came from the questions, “What’s going on in the rest of the world?” and “What does the rest of the world look like?” Once they started leaning into that, the answers started formulating into an expansion of themes that were merely hinted at within the game but never explicitly elaborated upon.

At the same time, Druckmann mentions how it was always important to never say, ‘OK, here is patient zero, the exact origin.’ A lot of it is based on hints.” In doing so, the creator-director duo manages to honor the game while allowing the fans to have a peek behind the curtain to understand the events that unfolded 2 decades ago.

The Last of Us is currently streaming at HBO Max.

Source: Variety

Written by Diya Majumdar

At 25, Diya Majumdar is inching closer to getting to the bottom of every film and television's history in existence. Having graduated with honors in literature from Miranda House, DU, her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema, with more than 800 published articles on Fandomwire. She is a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh and boasts of being an avid painter of all their troubled works.