The Last of Us Showrunners Claim HBO Made Them Release Bloater-Sized Premiere

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If you were one of the millions of viewers who caused HBO to crash by trying to watch the premiere of The Last of Us, you were probably pleased by the episode's lengthy runtime. However, the 77-minute runtime was not something that the showrunners had planned in the first place. Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have revealed that HBO made them release the epic premiere.

The first episode of The Last of Us is titled When You're Lost in the Darkness and it spans 55 years if you count the opening scene set in 1968. That meant an amazing premiere that ran for one hour and 17 minutes. But, as Neil Druckmann confirmed in HBO's The Last of Us podcast, this wasn't the original plan.

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"Episode 1 used to be Episode 1 and 2. It used to just end on the ‘20 years later’ and seeing Joel throw the kid in the fire," Druckmann revealed.

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So why the major change? Craig Mazin pointed out that HBO suggested that the premiere should feature two of the major characters instead of just Joel.

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"In this case, our proxies [at HBO] were saying it’s not necessarily going to want to make me come back," Mazin said. "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."

Druckmann added that it was a suggestion they were happy to take.

"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," he said. "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."

It's great to know that the showrunners took the feedback and made the premiere as awesome as it is. With that in mind, we can't wait to see what will happen next.

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The Last of Us Episode 1 is now streaming on HBO Max.

Related: The Last of Us: Bella Ramsey Hits Back at Initial Backlash to Ellie Casting