The Last Of Us (2023)
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The Last of Us turns 10 this coming June, and though that decade feels like it flew by, we have treasured every moment of your support and love for this series since it debuted. The beautiful fan art, the incredibly detailed cosplay, the letters of support about what these games have meant to you, and everything else that has poured in over this last decade: thank you! Thank you for supporting this story our studio believes in so deeply. Our team could never have imagined over a decade ago that the kernel of what was The Last of Us would have such a profound impact on our lives, and the lives of so many of you out there.
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We\u2019re telling the untold stories of women, women of color and LGBTQ+ people. Subscribe to our daily newsletter.\n\n\n\nClark Williams lost his first love, Robert Wisler, in 1994 to AIDS. Wisler died in his arms, and like so many other gay men, he died before the most effective treatments to control the virus destroying his immune system were available \u2014 after political indifference stifled early medical efforts. \n\n\n\nAs Wisler died, the couple were together in his hospital bed, at home, finding refuge with the doors locked to the outside world. Five days before, Wisler had chosen to stop taking treatments that were wrecking his body. Williams knew the decision was an act of love to preserve what time they had left. \n\n\n\n\u201cThose last few days were the most beautiful times of our relationship. It was a snowy winter in Milwaukee. Snow was falling, we were isolated in the house,\u201d he said. A home health nurse visited at night. After years of fighting, the end fell on them slowly, with the February snow, and Williams knew there was nowhere else in the world he would rather be. \u201cI just held him, the entire time, for days. I just held him as he continued to weaken.\u201d \n\n\n\nWilliams was stunned when he saw those final moments with the man he knew to be his husband \u2014 and echoes of the life they had built together in a world hostile to those with HIV and AIDS \u2014 mirrored, almost 30 years later, in \u201cThe Last of Us,\u201d an HBO series chronicling a fungus-driven zombie apocalypse. He watched as two men living through a deadly pandemic decided to trust and love each other in spite of how easily it could all be taken away from them. He watched as they exchanged rings and vows in a world that couldn\u2019t legally recognize their marriage.\n\n\n\n\u201cAs I'm watching it, I'm like, \u2018Oh my god,\u2019 [\u2018The Last of Us\u2019 co-showrunner] Craig Mazin wrote this piece that just made me feel like someone saw me and Robert,\u201d he said. \u201cSomehow Mazin wrote this piece of art that reflected not just the life that Robert and I had, a falling in love in this dystopian time, but the lives of so many of my friends who also found loves that they loved and lost.\u201d \n\n\n\nClark Williams and his first love, Robert Wisler\n (Courtesy of Clark Williams)\n\n\n\nBill and Frank\u2019s decades-long relationship depicted in HBO\u2019s \u201cThe Last of Us\u201d was an unexpected departure from the award-winning video game that inspired the series. In the game, released in 2013, Frank is not even a living character \u2014 and he expresses contempt for Bill before dying. Their reimagined story resonated strongly with many LGBTQ+ viewers as a heartfelt homage to queer love found late in life, and in times of uncertainty. \n\n\n\nIt also struck a chord with some of those who lived through the spread of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and 90s. Peter Staley, one of the country\u2019s most prominent AIDS activists of that time, called the episode\u2019s metaphor \u201ca gift,\u201d saying that \u201ctears flowed remembering the tender love and bravery gay men summoned