Bill and Frank in The Last of Us on HBO.

Do We Need a ‘The Last of Us’ Bill and Frank Spinoff?

It’s a great time to be a fan of acclaimed-game-turned-acclaimed-series The Last of Us. The show absolutely cleaned up at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on January 6. The cast and crew went home with eight trophies, including Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Storm Reid as Riley Abel and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Nick Offerman as Bill.

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Nick Offerman’s win was almost guaranteed from day one, because he blew everyone’s minds with his performance as Bill. Audiences the world over sobbed as the hard-as-nails survivalist was softened by the love of his eventual husband, Frank (Murray Bartlett), learned to find the meaning of life in a post-apocalyptic world, and finally—spoiler alert—chose to die with Frank than live without him. It was a tremendous tear-jerker. But could we all be about to cry again?

Offerman has talked about a spinoff

While backstage at the Emmys, Offerman was asked about the possibility of a Bill and Frank flashback in the second season or, even better, a spinoff show. He told Deadline:

“Oh, great question, but I would have to ask somebody with a higher pay grade than myself. It certainly has been pitched. I think we pitched a whole mini-series of a prequel of their lives before they met each other.”

He then joked, “It could be a musical. We’re not short on ideas. We’ll just see what Craig [Mazin] and Neil [Druckmann] come up with.”

Sorry, musical fans. That’s probably not going to happen. But … Do we actually need a spinoff about Bill and Frank at all?

The Bill and Frank episode was perfect as it was

Bill and Frank’s story is told in the episode “Long, Long Time,” which was episode three of the first season. It marked The Last of Us out as something truly special from that moment on.

The story begins in 2003, when Bill first strikes out on his own in the wake of the cordyceps apocalypse, and ends twenty years later in 2023, when Bill and Frank die. The action jumps forward by three years, another three, and then ten more in order to compress the narrative down to its most important parts. Do I wish we’d seen a little more of how Bill and Frank learned to connect before the first three-year jump forward? I do, but I figure my imagination can fill in the blanks. I have my own headcanons as to what might have happened, and they live just fine in my mind whenever I watch the episode.

While navigating the Bill/Frank side of The Last of Us fandom, I’ve noticed that everyone has their own take on the early days of Bill and Frank’s relationship, and their own take on what happened in the ten years before Frank developed the degenerative illness that killed him. And I love that! I feel that giving us a spinoff detailing exactly what happened to Bill and Frank during the times we didn’t see would take away from the power of “Long, Long Time,” a lot of which shines through in just how much goes unsaid. It doesn’t matter how Frank went about growing those strawberries, for example—it just matters that he did.

Like Bill during the heart-wrenching last hour of his life, I’m satisfied with what I got.

(featured image: HBO)

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.