Mazin elaborated further on the decision, explaining that the idea of not having the couple separate before Joel and Ellie’s arrival came from a few existential questions inspired by Bill’s original story: What actually is safety in an inherently unsafe world? Who can you allow in your bubble of safety, and why are they allowed in and not others? These questions caused him to look beyond the storytelling parameters set by the original game.
“What we could do [in the show] is something that they couldn’t do in the game because they were on Joel and Ellie’s perspective,” Mazin said. “But we can do different perspectives, and the promise of what happened with Frank was so interesting to me, and we did take it in a very different direction.”
In the case of Bill, the original game planted the seeds of a very compelling story that, sadly, began and ended with tragedy. When the ragtag duo meets up with him in the game, Frank had since left him, and even more sadly, committed suicide after getting infected. It’s clear that this tragedy loomed over Bill throughout the players’ time with him. By letting us see their relationship unfold and conclude in the show, “The Last of Us” brings closure to the original story threads left hanging in the game.
“It just felt like the right thing to do,” Mazin said of these changes. “Sometimes all you have are your instincts, and this is where they led us.”
New episodes of “The Last of Us” arrive Sunday nights on HBO and HBO Max.