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The Last of Us creators reveal Tess’ heartbreaking backstory

Jess Hardiman

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The Last of Us creators reveal Tess’ heartbreaking backstory

Featured Image Credit: HBO/Sky

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE LAST OF US EPISODE TWO

The creators of HBO’s The Last of Us have revealed a heartbreaking back story for one of the show’s key characters, explaining it was detailed in a scene that was written but never shot.

Based on Naughty Dog’s video game of the same name, The Last of Us follows smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal) as he is tasked with transporting 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic America, 20 years after modern civilisation was destroyed by a zombie-like infection.

The pair are joined by Tess (Anna Torv), Joel’s partner and hardened survivor, who becomes protective of Ellie, knowing the significance of her immunity to the cordyceps - so much so, that she essentially ends up sacrificing herself to save the others.

Anna Torv as Tess. Credit: HBO/Sky
Anna Torv as Tess. Credit: HBO/Sky

Speaking on the show’s official podcast, HBO’s The Last of Us Podcast, director Craig Mazin said Tess is in ‘mother mode’, as she is trying to ‘protect and keep this kid alive’.

But it turns out there’s more to it than her simply starting to believe that Ellie is ‘the real thing’, as there’s much more to her backstory than we know.

Mazin began by explaining there is one huge difference between Tess and Joel, and that’s the fact that Tess has ‘hope’.

“She seems so tough,” he said.

“She seems like she has assimilated into this new world quite well. She’s getting beaten up, and she’s like, ‘Whatever.’

“And she deals and trades in the arms. She runs the show between her and Joel, clearly she is the boss. And here suddenly she is expressing hope.”

It turns out Tess has a heartbreaking backstory we never knew about. Credit: HBO/Sky
It turns out Tess has a heartbreaking backstory we never knew about. Credit: HBO/Sky

Mazin continued: “There is something we had talked about and we wrote it – we never shot it – and it was a little bit of a backstory for Tess, and the fact that Tess had a kid.

“She had a husband and she had a son, and they were infected, and she had to kill them.

“She killed her husband, but she could not kill the son. She couldn’t do it. She locked him in the basement, where theoretically he’s still a clicker."

Naughty Dog video game developer Neil Druckmann, who also directed episode two of the HBO show, added: "We had a cold open where the camera pushed on this door and you hear the pounding coming from this basement. And then we cut out.

“And then later, Tess would tell the story of how she couldn’t kill her son."

Watch The Last Of Us weekly on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, or stream via Sky or NOW.

Topics: TV And Film

Jess Hardiman
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