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The Tragic Early Death of Sam Raimi’s ‘The Last of Us’ Movie, Explained

What happened exactly?

Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us HBO series

The Last of Us HBO series will be hitting our screens on January 15, 2023 and fans are pretty excited to see this adaptation of the hit video game. However, this The Last of Us TV show isn’t the first time someone has thought of adapting the game. In fact, Sam Raimi was supposed to direct a film adaptation and that fell through.

Sam Raimi is primarily known for The Evil Dead film franchise (minus Evil Dead 2013) and the Spider-Man trilogy. It’s therefore not a stretch to think he could’ve done The Last of Us. But why didn’t the film happen, though? Was there some drama behind the scenes? Let’s put on our backpacks and go on a short adventure to uncover the truth.

The reason why Sam Raimi’s The Last of Us fell through

In 2014, a film adaptation of The Last of Us was announced, with Neil Druckmann behind the script and Sami Raimi set to direct. People often jump to conclusions when films or TV shows don’t get made. In reality, studios do interfere and don’t have the same vision for a film—and that’s what happened to this failed adaptation.

Neil Druckmann mentioned back in 2021 why the film fell apart and here’s what he had to say on the matter:

“When I worked on the movie version, a lot of the thinking and notes were like ‘How do we make it bigger? How do we make the set pieces bigger?”

“I think that’s ultimately why the movie wasn’t made.”

– Neil Druckmann

Apparently, Sony executives wanted ‘bigger and sexier’ when it came to the adaptation. Unfortunately, Sony’s vision for the film just didn’t line up with what Druckmann was envisioning. Ultimately, it’s probably for the best that he didn’t give in to what they wanted anyways. Druckmann did trust Sam Raimi to direct the film, so at least there’s no bad blood there.

What can be expected with the upcoming The Last of Us series

The upcoming HBO series was created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann and isn’t looking to be sexy or larger than life. The Last of Us series will have the feeling of an indie film, according to Druckmann:

 “Our approach for The Last of Us was ‘Let’s make it as an indie film. Let’s approach it as an indie film team, the way it’s shot [and in terms of] how small and intimate it feels.”

“And with the show, we get to lean into that even more because we don’t have to have as many action sequences as we do in the game.”

– Neil Druckmann

(featured image: HBO)

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Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a blerd writer and visual artist who loves horror, anime and all things strange. Her writing has appeared in Pink Advocate, Dread Central and more. For more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theblackbuffy.