The Last Of Us Showrunner Responds To Criticism Of Potential Customers Who Don’t Play The Game

“It’s Neil’s job and my job to put all of Ellie and Joel on the side. We know Ellie and Joel completely.”

The Last of Us showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin recently responded to criticism from fans of the franchise that leads Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey never actually played the games, noting how this gave them enough creative space to recast the roles of Joel and Ellie. Druckmann and Mazin specifically instructed Pascal and Ramsey not to play these landmark titles.

The news comes from an interview by The Washington Post with Druckmann and Mazin. While several other topics were addressed, some of the most interesting comments concerned the ongoing controversy that Pascal and Ramsey had never completed the games. “I didn’t train her to do Ellie’s mannerisms,” Mazin said of Ramsey. “I didn’t train her to do Ellie’s rhythms. I didn’t coach her to do anything other than inside the scenes, I let her know the intentions in the dialogue and in the text.”


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Pascal and Ramsey appear to have cheated by watching some gameplay videos on YouTube, but Mazin clearly wanted the actors to make Joel and Ellie their own characters. “A lot of people were worried,” Mazin recalled when the news broke. “It was frustrating knowing what we had and seeing people doubting it,” the showrunner said.

Joel protects Ellie in The Last of Us
via HBO

Mazin added that people “should be encouraged. That’s our job. It’s Neil’s job and mine to put all of Ellie and Joel on the page. We know Ellie and Joel completely. We know them inside out, not just as they manifested in such a beautiful way by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, but just from the ground up when Neil thought of it all. And as he and I created these new versions.”

The result was, of course, a fantastic and completely unique reinterpretation of the characters Joel and Ellie. The show has been well received by viewers and critics alike, at least so far. The first episode of the series, When You’re Lost in the Darkness, arrived earlier this week on January 15, 2023 to great acclaim. The second episode is currently scheduled to be released on January 22.

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