The Last of Us TV show creators explain why they changed Bill and Frank's story

The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 3! Stop reading now if you've not yet seen the latest episode of the HBO series. 

The latest episode of The Last of Us probably features the biggest deviation from the games so far. It expands on a brief moment in the original Naughty Dog game to tell Bill (played by Nick Offerman) and Frank's (Murray Bartlett) love story. 

Beginning with the outbreak of the Cordyceps infection, episode 3 takes us from survivalist Bill building up his fortress right through to his final moments with his husband Frank. This is a lot more than the brief mention we get of Bill's partner Frank in the game, who is dead by the time Ellie and Joel arrived in Bill's Town.

The show's co-creators Neil Druckmann explained to IGN (opens in new tab) why they decided to build on the story. "When we got to this part in the season, Craig brought up a really interesting point which is there's a lot of examples of things not turning out well for people, and often those are reflections and cautionary tales for Joel of 'here's what you stand to lose,'" Druckmann says. "It was, 'what if we show them what you could stand to win?'

"But in a way, it's also still a warning sign for Joel, especially on the heels of losing Tess at the end of [episode 2]. In the TV show, we could leave our main character's perspective, which in the game we're very much adhered to purely Joel or purely Ellie. Here, we could see what happened with Bill in the outbreak. And then what was it like to meet Frank and fall in love with Frank and grow old with Frank, and then the full cycle of love and living together with someone and experiencing loss, but loss is tinged with happiness of having lived a full life filled with love."

If you're looking for a deep dive into the latest episode of The Last of Us, check out all of the episode 3 changes from the games, what Frank actor Murray Bartlett had to say about his character's untold backstory, and find out more about The Last of Us episode 3 ending shot.

The Last of Us streams Sundays on HBO and HBO Max and Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.