The Last of Us: A Tale of Two Productions - Examining the Similarities and Differences between the HBO Series and the Game
The Last of Us TV series is a resounding success, with its production being so faithful to the original game that it leaves fans of other franchises wanting similar adaptations. Even better, the show is also accessible to viewers who never encountered Joel and Ellie’s world before. With so much attention to detail, the show is packed with references and threads related to the game, making it a real treat for die-hard fans. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting tidbits and references from the HBO production.
Birthdays Card for Joel
One of the most interesting details is related to Joel’s birthday card, which Sarah wanted to give him. In the prologue of the original game, the card can be seen resting on a cabinet in Sarah’s room. However, in the series, Sarah forgets to give it to Joel in the evening. Nevertheless, the scene where Sarah wakes up on the morning of September 26, 2003, shows the card resting on the cupboard, just as we can see in the play. Fans will recognize the item by the green dinosaur printed on it.
Pillows in Sarah’s Room
In both the play and the show, Sarah’s room is colorful and feminine, but the bedding looks slightly different in the show. The pillows are decorated with characteristic butterflies, just as in the game, and the theme of butterflies recurs throughout the first episode. In the game and the show, when Ellie is brought to Joel’s apartment before escaping from the zone, she spends her time looking out the window with a butterfly toy hanging above her.
Sarah Miller is a huge fan of the band Halican Drops and wears their t-shirt while sleeping. The creators of the series dressed Nico Parker in an identical t-shirt, which we can see at the beginning of the first episode. But that’s not all. On the back of the t-shirt, there’s a list of cities that were part of Halican Drops’s tour – the same cities visited by Joel and Ellie during their journey. Moreover, the date of the tour on the t-shirt is 2002, the same as in the play.
Roadside Building on Fire
During the night escape, Joel and Ellie drive past a burning building. In the show, Joel’s brother notices Jimmy’s farm on fire, while the building belongs to Louis in the game. The creators made this minor change because Joel’s neighbor is Jimmy Cooper in the game, and he just disappears in the show. The change makes sense because the building on fire is located outside the town limits, and it was Jimmy’s farm in the game.
Overall, the show is packed with interesting details and references. Even the smallest ones are very revealing and make the show a real treat for fans of the franchise. Clearly, the creators of the series didn’t forget about the already established community of the game but also made the show appealing to new audiences, who can enjoy it just as much.
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