The latest episode of HBO’s The Last of Us featured a heartbreaking love story between Nick Offerman’s Bill and Murray Bartlett’s Frank, a couple living alone in a small town outside of Boston. While these characters did exist in the original game, their television counterparts differed significantly from what fans might have been expecting. Where players were able to interact and fight alongside Bill on the PlayStation, the series has the noted survivalist dying peacefully beside his love before the show’s protagonists are ever able to reach him. Despite this variation, however, the episode does end with a nod to a classic element from the first game.
As Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie drive away from Bill and Frank’s residence, the camera pans to a familiar shot of the home’s open bedroom window. In the video game, players are treated to a similar image of an open window each time they put in their disc, with the shot acting as the backdrop to the game’s menu screen. In this week’s installment of the official The Last of Us Podcast, showrunner Craig Mazin revealed this was entirely intentional and was originally part of a bigger idea to incorporate the famed window shot as part of the show’s opening sequence:
We had this idea that we were gonna open every episode with a window. So you know, like, when you’re watching on streaming and the intro comes along, the little button says ‘skip intro’? We were gonna change the words of ‘skip intro’ to ‘press play’.Craig Mazin
He continued his explanation, noting that each episode would present its own unique version of the window concept for viewers to associate with the story:
So you could sit there and look at this window as long as you wanted. Each episode would have a different window reflecting a different circumstance in that episode, then you’d press play, and the episode would begin.Craig Mazin
Obviously, this didn’t end up making the final cut, but Mazin claims the idea made it as far as filming, and that the team was even able to use the third episode’s window for the end of Long Long Time:
Well, as many windows as we filmed, it just never really made sense… It just never came together, but the plus side of the misfire there was that we did have this ending, which we loved. And it is a chance to give fans, who have experienced what I’ve experienced as a player, that feeling of the open window and the sense of both promise and loss that it implies.Craig Mazin
The Last of Us is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO.
Source: The Last of Us Podcast