‘The Last Of Us’ creators confirm fan theory on how the outbreak began

Spoilers ahead for the second episode ‘Infected’

The Last Of Us co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have confirmed a fan theory connected to the outbreak of the Cordyceps infection.

In the first episode of the HBO adaptation, viewers noticed Joel (Pedro Pascal), Sarah (Nico Parker) and Tommy (Gabriel Luna) all avoided eating products containing flour.

As noted in a popular Reddit post, Sarah doesn’t make Joel pancakes for his birthday, she doesn’t take any cookies baked at the neighbour’s house, the characters refuse an offer of biscuits, while Joel forgets to buy himself a birthday cake on the way back from work.


The theory that the outbreak was spread via contaminated flour was given further credence following the second episode, Infected. The episode starts with a flashback sequence set in 2003 Jakarta, where a mycology professor learns of an incident at a nearby flour mill when an infected woman began attacking her coworkers.

The Last Of Us
‘The Last Of Us’ debuts on January 16. CREDIT: HBO/Sky

While the connection wasn’t directly made in the show, Mazin and Druckmann confirmed the theory during an interview with Variety.

Asked if the contaminated flour theory is correct, Mazin said: “I think it’s pretty explicit.”

He added: “When she 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. We liked the idea of that science, and we try as best we can to make sure that our research all connects.

“[The mycologist] asks where it happened, and the guy says a flour factory on the west side of the city. We are absolutely talking about – 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.”


It’s a slight change from the original game, written and co-directed by Druckmann, where the Cordyceps infection was spread through contaminated crops in South America.

The Last Of Us continues on HBO on Sunday in the US. The next episode airs on Monday at 2am on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

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