No Spores in HBO’s The Last of Us: Is It Still the Same?

Only tendrils. Only... the network.

HBO’s The Last of Us will not have spores as the catalyst for spreading the Cordyceps infection and now fans are really worried.

It was officially confirmed that there will be no spores in the upcoming HBO series adaptation and it will be replaced by another catalyst. The infection will be spread by tendrils that can become a network that is interconnected.

Co-Creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin recently spoke with media outlet Collider in an interview to talk about pandemics and how the infection will be depicted. Since the pandemic happened, they think the audience is more knowledgeable.

“A lot of the reason this show begins the way it does, with that scene in the ’60s [likely the scene shown in a now-deleted behind the scenes video which depicted a talk show discussing infection] is to say, ‘Look, the context is, there are viral pandemics and they are quite dangerous, but there’s something out there that’s worse. And it may sound funny to you, but let me explain why.’ And then, you start to realize, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’

“And also, it’s been there all along. So, when the outbreak happens, it’s not happening suddenly or capriciously. It’s finally happening. It was always gonna happen. We just happen to be there today to see it,” Mazin explained.

Druckmann then explained that the team did not want to have the cast wear gas masks just like in the game. This is where the tendrils come in.

“And then, just thinking about how there’s a passage that happens from one infected to another, and like fungus does, it could become a network that is interconnected. It became very scary to think that they’re all working against us in this unified way, which was a concept that I really liked, that got developed in the show,” he stated.

In another interview with media outlet ComicBook, the creators explained further the reason for tendrils instead of spores.

Mazin revealed that if spores were used the infection would spread everywhere, making everyone wear masks all the time. “… probably everyone would be completely infected by that point,” he explained.

Many fans would have thought that the tendrils are a new thing to The Last of Us universe, but they were there actually, they just did not make the cut. It made an appearance in the original concept art of the first game. It is said that they would “slither along the ground looking for hosts”.

In an interview with media outlet GameSpot, Druckmann said, “There’s things that work in the game that would just not work in the show.”

HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation will be airing on January 16, 2023.