In a new interview, The Last of Us TV creators revealed that they swapped out spores for tendrils to avoid characters wearing gas masks throughout the show. The tendrils also serve to clearly show how the infected are connected to one another as a network.

There are a number of differences between The Last of Us TV show and video games, but by far the biggest is the addition of tendrils.

Adaptations of video games tend to alter small things from the source material to make it work better on the small screen.

HBO’s The Last of Us TV show is no different, as it’s changing how the terrifying Cordyceps infection spreads from spores to tendrils. However, interestingly, tendrils aren’t entirely new to The Last of Us franchise.

What Are Tendrils in The Last of Us TV Show?

Tendrils are long, vine-like appendages that sprout from the infected and latch onto unsuspecting targets before dragging them in and infecting them.

They were not present in The Last of Us video games and are a new addition to the show. However, tendrils are visible in the original concept art for the first game, as well as scrapped audio files.

Of course, the addition of tendrils is just one of the many surprising changes coming to The Last of Us TV show.

The Last of Us artbook showing original concepts for tendrils

Fans have posted on Reddit mentions of tendrils in the official The Last of Us art book that included references to them dragging victims into their organic matter.

Additionally, Reddit user -anne-marie- compiled every unused audio file from The Last of Us into a Soundcloud playlist, including one that directly mentions tendrils.

Why Did They Remove Spores From The Last of Us TV Show?

In an interview with Collider, The Last of Us Showrunners said they altered the Cordyceps infection spreading from spores to tendrils to make the show more realistic.

They also believed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, viewers would be more aware of how viral infections spread. So, they switched it to make sure the show remained grounded.

If you want to see how this change plays out in the show, then you’ll need to make sure you know exactly how and where to watch The Last of Us in the US, UK, and the rest of the world.

The Last of Us TV Show Clicker

In real life, infected spores would travel through the air and infect practically everyone. As they’d linger, survivors would need to wear masks permanently to avoid infection.

Therefore, it makes sense to make the switch to something that requires more contact, as opposed to something airborne.

Former Staff Writer
Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.