Is the Premise of The Last of Us Scientifically Possible?

The Last of Us has burst onto the streaming scene and is one of the most talked-about shows of 2023. It’s about a zombie-like plague that has overwhelmed the world, and it follows the story of a few survivors in the apocalyptic wasteland. It has drawn a lot of attention in scientific circles as it features a “virus” that actually exists.

The New Flagship Series on HBO

There is a lot of hype around The Last of Us and its themes. It is still in its first season, but it’s clear that the show is going to be massive. It has already recorded the network’s biggest viewership jump from episode one to episode two, according to Forbes.

With Pedro Pascal in the lead role, the post-apocalyptic science-fiction offering could become one of the most successful television series of all time. The 47-year-old actor has propelled numerous other series in recent years, including The Mandalorian and Narcos. Both of these titles were helped by franchising other merchandise and games, with Narcos being the best example.

The Netflix series has numerous games related to it, including Narcos: Rise of the Cartels, which is based directly on the series. There’s also the Narcos slot at PlayStar Casino, which is a major draw for the platform. The officially licensed game offers a unique theme among other slots like Wild Showdown and Cash Squares.

The Last of Us could easily go down this same franchising route, as there are already console games upon which the series is based. Of course, word of mouth will also help boost the new offering, and there’s a lot for people to discuss. It will most certainly appeal to scientists who will debate whether the premise of the series could ever come to fruition.

The Last of Us Features a Fungal Pandemic

Many works of fiction come up with fictionalized science to explain their premise. It adds credibility and makes something more frightening if the writers are able to integrate factually accurate science into the story, however. This is something that The Last of Us creators did.

The series is based on the 2013 game developed by Naughty Dog, in which the world has been ravaged by a fungal pandemic. It features the Cordyceps fungus, and in the story, this has spread through humans, turning them into zombie-like hosts.

The Cordyceps fungus is real, and it consists of more than 600 species that are mainly found in tropical jungles throughout Asia. It attacks a host and replaces the tissue within, after that it becomes infected and can spread the fungus to other beings. The creatures that can be attacked by it include ants, dragonflies, and cockroaches.

The good news for Last of Us viewers is that, according to Insider, a pandemic of this sort is highly unlikely. The main reason for this is that the human body temperature is too high for the fungus to survive. However, scientists have said that we should still be cautious, as evolution could eventually change the situation.

If you haven’t seen The Last of Us yet, check it out and see how the spread of a devastating fungus could play out if it managed to transition to the human population.

Written by Kirstynn Joseph

Kirstynn graduated with a Bachelors in Ecology from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada in 2018. She was born in Yukon Territory, and is currently living in Ecuador, where she is working on various projects and exploring as much as she can before she figures out the next big adventure. She is passionate about the outdoors, about nature and conservation, and of course, science! She loves writing, art and photography and strives to share the wonders of our big mysterious world with as many people as she can.

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