“We weren’t allowed to say that”: The Last of Us Took One Major Inspiration from The Walking Dead to Stand Out in Zombie Infested Genre

“We weren’t allowed to say that”: The Last of Us Took One Major Inspiration from The Walking Dead to Stand Out in Zombie Infested Genre
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HBO Max’s The Last of Us is one of the best video game adaptations that the world has seen in recent times, and the show is frequently compared to the likes of World War Z and The Walking Dead.


Even though the show is compared with the best zombie TV Series and movies, the creators of the video game adaptation don’t want people to call it a zombie show, and they even banned the word ‘Zombie’ on the sets of The Last of Us.

A still from The Last of Us
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey

Also Read: “We’re exhausted”: Pedro Pascal Was Scared of the Last of Us Fanbase, Hesitated to Play ‘Joel’ in The Hit HBO Show


Why was the word ‘Zombie’ Banned on the set of The Last of Us?

In an interview with The Credits, Eben Bolter, the cinematographer of The Last of Us who worked on the third and fourth episodes of the series revealed that cast and crew members were not allowed to use the Z word on the set, and it felt like a banned word. He added that they had to call them the “Infected,” explaining that they were not a zombie show. 

“We weren’t allowed to say the Z word on set. It was like a banned word. They were the Infected. We weren’t a zombie show. Of course, there’s tension building and jump scares but the show’s really about our characters; The Infected are an obstacle they have to deal with.”

A Clicker, Cordyceps Infected Stage III

Since the word was banned from the set, leading cast members like Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey who played the role of Joel and Ellie in the beloved series had to refrain from using the word during the scenes of the show. Earlier, the director said that the series has a lot of naturalism and it is not a cliché zombie movie.

“There’s a lot of things The Last of Us is not. It’s not a cliché zombie movie, it’s not Hollywood backlit where everyone’s close-up is perfect. It’s a world of organic cinematic naturalism, and that’s something I could just feel.”

Although, it is quite strange for the series to completely avoid using the term and go out of its way to ignore the word. But it can be interpreted that neither the game nor the show is about killing the infected but Joel helping to travel across the infected country, as they believe Ellie is the possible cure for the infection.


Also Read: The Last of Us Creator Got Teary-Eyed After Looking at the Magnificent Practical Effects of Clickers

How is The Last of Us different from other Zombie shows?

The fans of the game know the reason, but people who have not played the game should know that in The Last of Us, the world is destroyed and a major percentage of the population has been infected by a fungal infection. The name of the fungi is Cordyceps. The parasitic infection affects the brain of humans and turns them into zombie-like creatures.

But unlike zombies, the goal of this infection is to spread it as much as possible. In the show, bites are the primary method of spreading the infection, however, in the game, airborne spores are equally a threat. Some symptoms that a person has been affected by the Cordyceps infection are involuntary twitching, slurred speech, and muscle spasms.

Shambler in The Last of Us II

The Cordyceps infection is more horrifying compared to a person returning as the undead because in this infection the parasite eats the person from the inside. Moreover, the Cordyceps infection is real, it infects ants, taking control over their bodies, and making a threat to other ants. The series is also different because instead of using the word ‘Zombie’ the creators came up with innovative terms such as Infected, Clickers, Bloaters, Shamblers, and more.

Also Read: In a Bid To Increase Their Already Insane Viewership Numbers, HBO Max Makes ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 1 Free to Watch for All

Episode 6 of The Last of Us will release on 19th February 2023 on HBO Max.


Source: The Credits


Written by Tushar Auddy

Articles Published: 977

Tushar Auddy, Content Writer. He has been in the entertainment industry for 3 years and is always on the lookout for a captivating story. He is a student of Linguistics and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in the same field. He has a passion for literature that runs deep and loves nothing more than getting lost in a novel for hours on end. When he isn't reading, you'll find him capturing the beauty of language.