The Last of Us Director Talks Changes To Jackson Settlement

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for The Last of Us episode 6!

In The Last of Us episode 6, Joel and Ellie reach the Jackson settlement in Wyoming, where Joel reunites with his brother, Tommy. In the first video game, however, the small settlement is located at the hydroelectric dam. It is not until The Last of Us: Part II that Jackson becomes the town seen in episode 6. In an interview with Variety, The Last of Us director Jasmila Žbanić discusses the Jackson settlement and why series creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann made the change from the video games based on Žbanić’s background.

“I didn’t really talk about it, because for me it was very natural,” Žbanić said. “What we talked a lot about was that I survived the war in Sarajevo in the ’90s. I think for Craig and Neil, it was interesting that I was kind of living in a place, which was like Jackson in a way, because we were surrounded by the Serbian army.

“We were constantly bombarded,” Žbanić continued. “We had to be on alert, we had to survive, we had to learn how to live without anything, without civilization. There was no electricity, no food, nothing. But we managed to survive because of solidarity, and the way the city was restructured. You have to start from zero. That experience for me was something that I felt very close about Jackson.”

Another major change to the episode involved Tommy and his wife, Maria, who runs the Jackson settlement. In the episode, Maria is revealed to be pregnant with Tommy’s child. However, Maria’s pregnancy never happens in the games. Žbanić agrees with adding the pregnancy storyline because of the “hope” it represents for humanity.

“We wanted to give this feeling of hope that this society has,” Žbanić added. “Life doesn’t stop. It always goes on; even in the worst circumstances, life goes on. For me, this is a really important touch that Maria is pregnant. It makes Tommy’s decision much, much heavier that he accepted to take Ellie. It makes everything hard, with more drama for Tommy.”

The next episode of The Last of Us airs on HBO this Sunday night, February 26. What do you think of this week’s changes? Let us know in comments.

Recommended Reading: The Art Of The Last Of Us

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