While already a faithful adaptation from the game, creator Craig Mazin reveals a key The Last of Us scene was inspired by The Lord of the Rings. Based on the Naughty Dog game of the same name, the HBO show scored acclaim for staying close to its source material not only in its story, but often in its presentation. Many shots were even 1–1 adaptations of the survival horror title, including Sarah’s heart-wrenching death in the pilot’s opening, though others found themselves changed, some even for the better.

On the heels of the season 1 finale, Empire (via CBR) caught up with creator Craig Mazin to break down HBO’s The Last of Us thus far. While reflecting on the production, Mazin recalled how the Bloater scene changed midway through development, citing The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring‘s Mines of Moria sequence as a key inspiration for its look. See what Mazin explained below:

It was supposed to take place in the day, but by that point in the production we’d learned that the infected tended to look best when they were more mysterious. So I was like, ‘F–k, this is going to look so much better at night.’ And doomed myself and a thousand other people to three weeks of night shoots!

Related: The Last Of Us Season 2: Cast, Story Details & Everything We Know

How TLOU’s Bloater Scene Was Improved For The Show

Bloater in Last of Us Episode 5

Though the show would occasionally turn towards CGI for their larger crowd shots, The Last of Us frequently scored acclaim through season 1 for its very practical approach to bringing the various Infected to life. The Bloater in particular was generally thought to have been made through CGI, only for BTS images from episode 5 shared by stunt performer Adam Basil revealing the very practical, and heavy, suit he wore to portray the menacing Cordyceps creature, likely enhanced by VFX.

As terrifying as the practical design appeared for the Bloater, Mazin and co-creator/game director Neil Druckmann were ultimately right to change their approach for The Last of Us scene. Without a gamer’s interaction showing how impervious the Bloaters really are, establishing the threat for the viewer needed a new aesthetic, and showing the menacing figure solely lit by a blazing fire in the background did well to strike fear in to audiences’ hearts.

Given the threat does return later in the original game, it will be interesting to see if the Bloaters make their way back for The Last of Us season 2. Mazin and Druckmann have both teased that the next chapter of the hit series will feature more of the Infected while also exploring their hive mind nature, leaving the door wide open for more of the towering foe to return. While audiences await further updates on the next season, they can catch up with the entirety of The Last of Us season 1 streaming on HBO Max now.

More: 6 Horrifying Bloater Moments To Prepare For In The Last Of Us’ FutureSource: Empire (via CBR)

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