Well, we would’ve probably guessed that the live-action TV adaptation of The Last of Us might not be entirely faithful to the video game it’s based on. I think the only real shocker here is how small the change seems to be. Not to mention how odd it is.

The Last Of Us: One Small Change In Detail?

Quite the enigma we have here.

Naughty Dog themselves recently posted a Tweet in which they noted that the TV adaptation of The Last of Us is making one small change to the plot. Specifically: the timeline of the Cordyceps outbreak is different from the video game. In the game, the outbreak occurred in 2013, with the game’s present-day taking place 20 years later in 2033. However, the TV adaptation will have the outbreak occur in 2003 instead, resulting in the TV series taking place in 2023. This is supported by posters for the series, as well as set pieces.

"The Last of Us" set piece showing a banner that says "The 19th Annual Biomedical Sciences Conference: October 13-17, 2003".
Likely the final Biomedical Sciences Conference to boot.

For Want Of A Nail?

"The Last of Us" poster, saying "2003: Outbreak Year".
But what does this actually change, really?

Well, since Naughty Dog is definitely not commenting in detail on this change, we can only speculate as to why this change happened at all. According to Comic Book, the only relevant change they could come up with was that Joel wouldn’t sing the song “Future Days” by Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam sang that particular song in 2013, which means that it wouldn’t exist in the TV world of The Last of Us. You know, because society had already collapsed by then.

Here’s some speculation: maybe the change to the outbreak year to 2003 is a conscious choice to make the TV world of The Last of Us more like the world of 2003? I have no idea why. The only thing I can think of is that the invasion of Iraq took place in 2003. I have no idea why that would be relevant to that universe, but it could be something. Maybe the result is that there’s a large US-led bastion in Iraq, propped up by a US-led military regime? Either way, we’re going to have to watch the show itself on HBO to find out if it makes any difference. Take my speculation with a grain of salt until then.

Source: Twitter, Comic Book