How The Last Of Us Episode 1 Made Its Saddest Moment Feel Even Worse

Pedro Pascal as Joel holding Nico Parker's Sarah in The Last of Us episode 1

A new behind-the-scenes featurette for HBO’s The Last of Us season premiere reveals how the show made its saddest moment feel even worse.

Warning: Spoilers for The Last Of Us Episode 1 ahead!HBO’s The Last of Us episode one’s saddest moment was made even worse by one choice surrounding Sarah, as revealed by a new behind-the-scenes featurette on the episode. The Last of Us series adaptation of the hit 2013 game introduced viewers to one of the most heartbreaking moments of the franchise during the series premiere. Audiences watched as Pedro Pascal’s Joel frantically tried to save his daughter, Sarah, who had just been shot fatally, and failed to do so. Sarah’s death is a major shock during the original game, and was adapted hauntingly well in the series, especially due to one decision made by the team behind the show.


HBO Max released an “Inside the Episode” featurette for The Last of Us episode one, revealing that the show’s creators wanted Sarah to feel like the protagonist of the series.

Creators wanted audiences to feel like The Last of Us is not the show they expected by having the series premiere follow Sarah’s point of view heavily at the start. This way, her death would be as shocking, if not more, than in the original game. The Last of Us series co-creator, Craig Mazin, explained that it was important for Sarah to feel like a character who audiences would get to go on a journey with throughout the series, only for a tragedy to cut it short. Check out the full quote below:

“It was important for us to present the audience with a Sarah that we thought we could follow for the rest of the series. She’s almost the protagonist, until disaster strikes.”

Related: The Last Of Us Show Is Already Making Big Changes To The Game’s Story

How Sarah’s Story In The Show Compared To The Game

The Last of Us season 1 episode 1 Sarah Nico Parker

The HBO series did a great job of adapting Sarah’s important, albeit brief role on The Last of Us. The choice from the series’ team to cast Nico Parker as The Last of Us‘ Sarah was the correct one. The character had an expanded role in comparison to Joel’s daughter in the game. The young actress brought a gravitas to the role that transformed Sarah from just a scared little girl in the game to someone who could easily be seen as the star of her own show, which the creators smartly went for in order to create an even more shocking death for the character in the HBO series.

HBO’s The Last of Us version of Sarah hit all the beats the character does in the game, while also expanding her story with additional scenes that give an insight to whom the young girl is as a person, with her humorous and kind-hearted personality put on display. Sarah died on The Last of Us as a more well-rounded character than in the game, with new scenes added for the show such as Sarah’s time at school, her getting Joel’s watch fixed, seeing police cars flying by, and the whole baking at her neighbors’ house. These new scenes help to further endear the character to audiences, before the show masterfully delivers the gut punch of Sarah’s shot-for-shot death scene in the game.

How The Joel & Ellie Relationship Differs From His With Sarah

The Last of Us Joel and Ellie

Before her death, Sarah comes face-to-face with the first onscreen appearance of a The Last of Us zombie, with their sick old lady neighbor being put down by Joel with a wrench. Sarah’s reaction to the moment, with the young girl watching in shock and crying over Joel’s action, differs greatly from Ellie’s reaction to Joel pummeling a Quarantine Zone guard to death during The Last of Us episode 1’s ending. Ellie seems pleased with the discovery that Joel could defend her during their journey through the apocalypse, proving how the 20-year difference between Sarah’s death and Ellie meeting Joel has shaped a new generation of kids in The Last of Us, with Ellie set to be very close in personality to Joel, which could prove dangerous.

Next: The Last Of Us’ Cordyceps Zombie Virus & Stages Explained

Source: HBO Max

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