“The Last of Us” is already one of the best and most popular video game adaptations ever. Why it is therefore perhaps good that a crucial word was banned from the set of the production, you can read below.
- “The Last of Us” has created one of the best and most authentic post-apocalyptic worlds in just a few episodes.
- As cinematographer Eben Bolter now revealed in an interview, one word was strictly forbidden for it.
Although the dystopian world of “The Last of Us” is completely unique and partly distinctive, the genre of “apocalypse drama with monsters” is not a completely new one. In order not to be confused with other series of this kind and also to preserve the video game adaptation’s own character, on the set of “The Last of Us” they banned an iconic pop culture term: Zombies.
In order to stay as close as possible to the video game charm, story, and credibility and authenticity of “The Last of Us” world, they insisted on not using the word zombie. This was so that the infected in the series would have a unique selling point and the whole series would not be seen as “another zombie series.”
The Last of Us: These are the reasons for the Z-word ban
So, just like in the games, the focus of the series should also not be too much on the infected as the biggest threat, but on the humans and the story and development of Joel and Ellie.
“The Last of Us” cinematographer Eben Bolter admitted as much in a “The Credits” interview, reiterating that the series wanted to be, and now is, so much more than just another video game adaptation with zombies.
Although those infected with the cordyceps fungus behave similarly to “classic zombies,” meaning they act in herds, are mindless, and want to maim and infect their victims, Bolter says the distinction was hugely important.
A similar phenomenon in zombie naming can actually be observed in “The Walking Dead,” although the undead there are of course much more like classic zombies and just not called that.
So it’s much more about the overarching threat of the collapse of civilization and the importance this dystopia has in Ellie and Joel’s lives. In order to completely engage with this premise and not degenerate into a zombie action-fest, the banning of the Z-word seems to have been important and correct. In common parlance about the series, however, “infected” has probably already clearly prevailed over “zombies.”