The Last of Us Dawn of the Wolf Easter Egg Nods to Gameplay and Twilight End-shutdown

2003 was an incredible time, both for our world and for the world of The last of us. reality has The return of the King, the Iraq War and the completion of the Human Genome Project. The last of us-verse got a zombie pandemic and the second installment of a Twilight rip-off. You might miss the latter for the former in all the hoopla, but episode 7, “Left Behind,” certainly nods to in-universe lore of the big (we assume) Dawn of the Wolf franchise with a little flicker and – You-you-miss-the Easter egg.

As Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and her friend and would-be lover Riley (Storm Reid) embark on the boozy getaway Riley has arranged for them, there’s plenty to marvel at in the Boston mall they’re wandering through. That includes a movie poster and marquee for Dawn of the Wolf Part 2, a film that, like any piece of media referenced in almost any piece of media, feels important. But it’s also important to this story: it’s not a real movie.

dawn of the wolf part 2 (and probably Part 1, if I had to guess) is a totally in-universe movie for the world of The last of us, seen in flashes of the poster or billboard. In the game Ellie and Joel have a brief discussion on one of the billboards, with Ellie skeptical of the film and Joel dismissing it as a “dumb teen movie”.

When The last of us was in development at Naughty Dog in the late 2000s, the world’s biggest “dumb teen movie” would have been the Twilight franchise. And the final installation of the film series, Dawn Part 2was released in theaters in 2012, a year before Sony released The last of us. Although the connection is not much: the title, a nod to the fever of vampires and werewolves that sweeps the nation; the already implicit melodrama; etc. – he’s certainly one of the fans at the time the game came out.

And who can blame them? Look, we all miss the happy days of having another Twilight movie to look forward to. The film franchise is a rich text of everything from young, eternal, chaste love to pants-wearing werewolves for when they transform. Each new chapter is his own manic masterpiece, and I for one would love to absorb more.

In a way, this Easter egg is just another little nod to a larger universe beyond the confines of this show. But in another, it’s incredibly representative, one that tells us (as players or spectators) something about almost every element of The last of us:To Ellie, it means very little, a relic of a bygone era she can never know. For Joel, it’s a flashback to her time with Sarah (who, in-game, had a poster from the first movie in her room) and the life she completely lost. Taken together, that poster feels evocative of the ending that’s coming up real fast.

In the game’s time period, it’s both an easy shot at a 2013-era heavy hitter and a visual nod to the bond between our leads. Like an HBO relic The last of us2003 pop culture, it’s a bit of an anomalous (the first Twilight book wouldn’t be published until 2005, at least barring one Cordycepszombie plague driven), but not outside the bounds of reason. Like so many details in the show, it communicates so much with so little. And ultimately, it’s just another way that normalcy, within their world or ours, feels so out of place as to be unrecognizable.

Imagine if we only had the first two Twilight movies, who would play Batman then?

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