The Last of Us Cut a Global Infection Montage

The Last of Us fans were treated to an in-depth explainer at the start of HBO's second episode, revealing even more about the initial spread of the Cordyceps fungal infection. This opening scene showed that the initial source of the infection was not only Jakarta, Indonesia, a piece of information that's new/different from the video games, but when crafting the first season the series nearly took this infection spread global with a huge, worldwide montage. Speaking on the latest episode of The Last of Us podcast from HBO, executive producers Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann opened up about how they cut this key visual.

"That is a huge deviation from how we made the game," Druckmann said about the show expanding its scope to a global picture. "The game is so much also like-- it has this, like, Americana love letter, and so (we) made a conscious choice that we will never leave the perspective of the United States." That's when Mazin revealed their intention was originally even more global, adding "We had this plan for this montage where we saw all these places in the world and what had happened to them, and we just didn't have the money for it. But we thought it would be really interesting to see where it all begins."

Mazin went on to explain his thinking behind the opening scene of episode two and how the potential confusion for viewers finding themselves in Jakarta in the past was a gamble they were eager to pay off. "Well, one of the things that we can do in television that we can't really do in something that is ongoing, like a movie or a video game where somebody can play all night long if they choose, we have episodes. That means we have starts and stops."

He continued, "And the beautiful thing about stopping is you get to start again. Every start is a new opportunity to reorient people or to disorient people....You have this five, six minutes of the beginning of every episode of television where the audience is the most open and receptive they'll ever be. They are willing to be confused, mystified, puzzled as long as you get them, ultimately, on solid ground. And I think we knew we wanted to give a little bit more of an origin story. We wanted to see what it would really be like at the very, very beginning because we're all pretty smart about this stuff now. And we wanted to show also that it was global, that this wasn't something that was just happening in America. This was the world."

For more Last of Us content, check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight's new podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast will include breakdowns of each episode, interviews with special guests from the show, and more. The Last of Us airs on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. Eastern every Sunday with The Last of Pods debuting immediately following each show.