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The Last Of Us Episode 8 Avoided An Uncharted Mistake

Contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" Season 1, Episode 8 — "When We Are in Need"

Fans of "The Last of Us" video games waited a long time to see the beloved story of Joel and Ellie adapted in live-action. HBO has more than delivered on that promise, with Craig Mazin ("Chernobyl") and Neil Druckmann ("The Last of Us" video games) showing the industry how to bring video games to life correctly.

Druckmann, the creative director for both video games, brought a familiar cast with him to the set of the HBO series, with many voice actors from the games playing significant parts in "The Last of Us." While non-gamers won't look twice at some of these characters, their inclusions serve as a nice little Easter egg for devoted fans of the games.

If fans listen closely, they will hear another familiar voice in Episode 8, with Troy Baker returning to "The Last of Us" world as James. The actor portrayed Joel in the video games, and you can hear some of that grizzled Southern accent pop up in Episode 8. Although both Joels appear in the penultimate episode, they never interact. Druckmann instead gave Baker a significant role in the series, paying homage to the source material naturally. Another popular PlayStation live-action adaptation, "Uncharted," attempted this type of cameo, but the end result was much different than "The Last of Us."

The Last of Us doesn't sacrifice plot for a fun cameo

"Uncharted," PlayStation's first attempt at a live-action adaptation, starred Tom Holland in the lead role of Nathan Drake, with the character's voice actor, Nolan North, cameoing in the movie. The scene comes right after Nathan and Chloe (Sophia Ali) fall out of a plane, washing up on a beach in the Philippines. Waiting for them on the beach is an awfully curious hotel guest (North) who tells the two treasure hunters that he similarly fell out of a plane before. While North's cameo is fun, the scene feels incredibly out of place, as is evident by Holland's awkward "Okay?" as they walk away from North's character.

The cameo in "Uncharted" shows the wrong way to include voice actors in live-action adaptations of their work. For one, North is a voice actor, so it's common for people not to know what he looks like, while general audiences would have no clue what the scene was referencing in the first place. The result is just an odd scene that distracts from the movie's plot and stands out as a strange addition for anyone unfamiliar with the video game industry.

Thankfully, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin found a more natural way to bring multiple voice actors into "The Last of Us." While they could have easily included a scene where the two Joels (Pedro Pascal and Troy Baker) run into each other — making their version of the Spider-Man meme — they instead chose to give Baker's character a significant role in the overall plot. At no point in Episode 8 did it seem necessary for him to share the screen with Pascal's Joel, proving that the showrunners prioritized plot over fan service.