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HBO's The Last Of Us Almost Altered The Original Game's Ending

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There are plenty of incredible moments in The Last of Us, but none are more impactful than the Game's ending. Having just slaughtered the Fireflies and doomed the planet to a reality without a vaccine, Ellie questions whether Joel's comments about there being no hope for a cure are actually true. Joel swears he's telling the truth, before Ellie says "okay" and the screen cuts to black.

It's a very simple ending, but it's abrupt nature leaves us with the same sense of doubt and lack of closure that Ellie is feeling at the time. The show ends in pretty much the same way, though that wasn't always going to be the case, as showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have revealed that they almost went with a slightly altered ending that would have been much less abrupt.

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In an interview with GQ (thanks Kotaku), Mazin explains that show director Ali Abbasi was "playing around" with the idea of a sadder, more drawn out ending. Instead of cutting to black, Ellie would have turned to walk away while Joel stands still for a while and watches her go. Joel would then follow as they both head down to Jackson walking apart from each other, and the scene would then linger and eventually fade out.

joel and ellie in the last of us
via HBO

Mazin claims that there was a back and forth on whether to go with the new ending or stay faithful to the original, going with the original in the end as the close-up on Ellie and the cut to black meant that the "moment gets suspended permanently". He also reveals that fan reactions were also a key factor in the discussion, as some were worried that those who played the Game would be annoyed if they didn't get what they were expecting.

While the alternate ending would have driven home the emerging rift between Joel and Ellie a bit harder, going with the original ending was probably the right move. It's widely regarded as one of the best in the industry, and you know how the old saying goes - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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