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HBO's The Last Of Us Drops A Big Clue About Its Cordyceps Virus

Fresh off the release of "The Last of Us Part 1," a graphically overhauled version of the fan-favorite game, there's now an entirely new "The Last of Us" property for fans to get excited about. HBO's adaptation of the video game – starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, respectively – will release in January, and fans have been busily searching through the series' trailers for small details about the direction of the show. The plot of "The Last of Us" will certaily follow the video game, but how will the showrunners flesh out the world Joel and Ellie must navigate through? Fans are trying to figure out everything they can about the new show before it releases, and some gamers may have just found out how the series will handle explaining the deadly virus turning the world into shambling creatures.


Naughty Dog Info, a fan account dedicated to tracking Naughty Dog projects, shared a picture of a woman in extensive PPE holding up a stringy mass of tissue, which many have interpreted to be the cordyceps fungus that infects the world. "In the recently released TV Spot, we see a scientist played by Indonesian actress Christine Hakim holding what looks like a fungal-lookin-thing in a lab," the tweet explained. Naughty Dog Info went on to speculate that the cordyceps infection might have originated in Indonesia in the world of the show. Here are the clues that hinted at the potential origins of the fungal infection and how it could be portrayed in HBO's adaptation.

Images suggest the fungus comes from Indonesia

Naughty Dog Info posted a thread of theories about how the cordyceps infection will be created in the show. In addition to the image of an actress holding a mushroom-like clump of tissue, Naughty Dog Info also brought up some leaked images from the show's production. First, the account posted images of the show's set, alleging that the crew had filmed using props made to resemble the Indonesian Health Ministry. This could be a sign that the cordyceps fungus will spread from Indonesia, although it's unclear what the Indonesian Health Ministry might be doing with the fungus in the first place.


Shortly before the images of the Indonesian Health Ministry props emerged, an actor leaked information about their experiences on set. The actor alleged that the set looked like it was supposed to be Jakarta, but that they weren't entirely sure and hadn't played the game enough to be able to put the pieces together.

Commenters didn't seem sure what to make of Naughty Dog Info's discovery. Many were excited to see Indonesia represented, but others wondered why they should get excited. "The cordyceps virus in the last of us originated in indonesia??? Lmao should we be proud or what," one commenter laughed. One fan was shocked to see that the origins of the infection would be detailed in the HBO adaptation, as the games offer little information about where the cordyceps came from or how it originally spread.


Where did the infection originate?

In "The Last of Us," the cordyceps infection initially spread around the world through imported crops, but the games aren't specific about how the fungi made its way to America. Instead, the games focus on the aftermath of the infection, and humanity's hope for a cure.


"The Last of Us" offers some clues to gamers about how the infection originated, and in-game documents like newspapers show that South America was the first part of the world to be hit with the odd affliction. However, it's unclear if the fungus was created in South America, or if it occurred naturally through some anomaly. As MojoPlays pointed out, the South American connection is clear because of the infection's spread up through Mexico and into Texas.

As of now, it's unclear what direction HBO's "The Last of Us" adaptation may take, but co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have assured fans that the show will both take new risks and maintain the emotional impact of the original story. At an interview panel hosted by Hyper Omelete, Mazin said that he feels a responsibility to get the show right because he is also a fan of Joel and Ellie's tale. Mazin also promised that the show will include new details to satisfy even the most knowledgeable "The Last of Us" fans. It's possible that setting the origins of the infection in Indonesia might be part of those new story beats.


Even though fans have expressed some worries about the upcoming series, they don't have long to wait to see how the story is realized. "The Last of Us" premieres on HBO on January 15, 2023.