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The Last Of Us Creators Let Fans Know They're On The Right Track With A Popular Theory About The Fungus

"The Last of Us" has finally hit HBO Max, expanding and exploring Naughty Dog's bleakest universe in a way the original video game never could. As Neil Druckmann (the scribe behind the original game who co-created the HBO adaptation) told Variety, "Everything we saw in the game was from three characters' perspective — [Joel's daughter] Sarah, Joel and Ellie, that's it. Here, we have the ability [to] leave those characters and show some other stuff ... "

That "other stuff" includes a wider look at how the cordyceps (the disturbing fungus that turns humans into mindless killers) first began its disastrous spread. While the video game only showed brief hints through easter eggs and in-game notes that less-curious players may miss, the HBO series offers more direct answers. Based on the information seen and heard in the pilot episode, fans had begun to put together a fairly coherent theory about the cordyceps' origin, tying them to a flour mill halfway around the world.

Now, after the release of the series' second episode "Infected," fans have even more evidence to support their theories, much to the delight of the show's creators.

The theory about Jakarta seems to be true

In an interview with Variety, series co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin took a moment to confirm the grain theory, which they felt was a clear-cut plot point as early as the pilot episode. "I think it's pretty explicit," Mazin said of the theory, while Druckmann confirmed so. "Yeah, we pretty much said yes."

To elaborate, the theory in question is that the disease in "The Last of Us" began to spread on a global scale after contaminating a flour mill in Jakarta. As Variety says, many fans online had taken note of the radio story involving the Indonesian capital in the first episode, connecting the dots that Jakarta is home to large flour mills. Throughout the pilot, Joel, Sarah, and Tommy come dangerously close to eating pancakes, cookies, and biscuits, all of which would have transformed them into zombified killers. "We're revealing more and more from the first episode," Druckmann said, "where we gave hints of things that would have turned out very different for the Millers had they made those pancakes. Now [in Episode 2], we get to see a bit more of how this thing started."

This interview from the show's creators isn't the only thing confirming the origin of the virus. Episode 2, "Infected" offers a flashback to the early days of the outbreak, which shows that a mycologist in Jakarta had warned authorities of the unstoppable spread immediately. Druckmann told Variety, "When [the mycologist] talks about where these people worked and what was going on in that factory — yeah, it's pretty clear that's what's going on ... there is the world's largest flour mill in Jakarta — so that's a fine theory and I think people should keep running with it."