HBO's The Last of Us TV show is finally here, and the reviews suggest that we're in for a treat. Understandably, there was a lot of pressure on the show, given how it's one of the most beloved video games in the world. You can bet Neil Druckmann was meticulous in ensuring that fans of the games wouldn't be let down by the show. However, HBO surely had its own say as well, given how it has made so many successful shows. One of these inputs was about the length of the show's first episode.
Warning: Spoilers For The Last Of Us TV show and video game ahead.If you noticed, the premiere was longer than the average TV episode, clocking in at around one hour and 20 minutes. However, it was originally planned to be shorter, with a major chunk of it to be shown in the next episode. It seems that the execs over at HBO felt that the premier needed to show a bit more of the story to really get people hooked. Druckmann and Craig Mazin spoke about how HBO convinced them to increase the length of the episode on HBO's The Last of Us Podcast (thanks, GamesRadar).
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"Episode one used to be episode one and two. It used to just end on the ‘20 years later’ and seeing Joel throw the kid in the fire," said Druckmann.
"In this case, our proxies [at HBO] were saying it’s not necessarily going to want to make me come back," Mazin added. "The whole story of The Last of Us is about Joel and Ellie. If we get a little glimpse of her at the end of episode one and we don’t bring them together… and it just ends with a kid dying, then credits – people may not want to come back."
However, Druckmann feels that the feedback was helpful, and helped make the first episode better. "In hindsight the feedback makes complete sense. We had a version where we ended on Ellie looking out the window… there’s a mystery here, but we haven’t established why we should care about the kid. We have to get to that moment [where Joel meets Ellie], that’s the start of this journey. The episode is so much better for it."