Real-World Threats in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Last of Us Showrunner Explains
In the opening moments of HBO’s The Last of Us, a scientist (played by The Mummy’s John Hannah) alerts the audience to the growing threat posed by the world’s fungi. He claims that fungi can infect and govern animal hosts, but warns that if temperatures increase and the fungus grows, it might infect humans. The warnings, it turns out, were terrifyingly accurate. In an interview with THR, showrunner Craig Mazin stated that this hypothetical situation is based on truth.
Mazin claimed that mushrooms and other fungi might theoretically infect humans, but added, “It’s true – it’s real to the extent that what he says about fungi happens,” Mazin told the media. “And they’ve been doing it for a long time. Some amazing documentaries may be incredibly unsettling. Now, his concern — what if they evolve and infiltrate humans? — from a scientific sense, would they do to us exactly what they do to ants? No, I don’t think so. I have my reservations. He is, however, true in that LSD and psilocybin are produced from fungus. ‘In this circumstance, what we’re doing is persuading people that this has always been here,’ I said to John.”
The notion was also compared to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster by the showrunner, who described it as a ticking time bomb. “What was so frightening to me was that [the Chernobyl nuclear power plant] blew up that night, but it might have gone up a week or a month sooner,” he stated. “Which suggests that something is just waiting to burst right now — you were just not conscious of it. It was painful to tell them, ‘We know about this, it’s been there, now we’ll show you the night it finally happens.’ Finally, but not too suddenly.”
A fungal epidemic is not only frightening but also probable. It warns that the world is full of invisible threats that might endanger mankind. The Last of Us’ plot emphasises how humanity’s existence is constantly in jeopardy, and how we must always be prepared for the worst-case scenario. The capacity of the programme to merge fiction with actuality makes the plot more immersive and thought-provoking. The series is a must-see for aficionados of post-apocalyptic dramas, and it serves as a sharp warning about the dangers that may lie in the shadows.