The Last of Us’s executive producer, Craig Mazin, has confirmed there are no plans for a Bill and Frank spin-off. Nick Offerman (Bill) mentioned at the Creative Arts Emmys on January 6 that the showrunners had pitched a prequel series to HBO based on the enormously loved characters, but apparently it was all just a joke. It turns out Offerman was just goofing around, and it should put to rest those worried that this perfect moment from the first season of the TV show would be spoiled.
For the seven people who didn’t watch HBO’s 2023 series based on the PlayStation game, Bill and Frank were two characters who appeared in a standalone episode within the first season, a couple who learn the power of unconditional love in the midst of an apocalypse. It was a beautifully told tale of love and loss, winning Offerman an Emmy for his role, and became a fan-favorite episode. Like anything that doesn’t outstay its welcome, there’s a contingent of viewers who wish they could have more.
“It certainly has been pitched,” Offerman said earlier this month, according to Deadline. However, what wasn’t clear was the tone in which he said it. The actor continued, more clearly joking toward the end, “I think we pitched a whole mini-series of a prequel of their lives before they met each other. It could be a musical. We’re not short on ideas.”
As Kotaku’s Alyssa Mercante argued January 8, “Bill and Frank’s story was a perfectly clean open-and-shut romance—any more of it would cheapen what we were already given.” So it’s with some relief that Deadline has cleared up the mess by speaking to Mazin at HBO’s after-party for January 15’s Primetime Emmys. “I’m very proud of the episode we did with Bill and Frank,” said Mazin, the author of the Bill and Frank episode, ‘Long, Long Time.’ However, he added, “There won’t be more Bill and Frank.”
He further explained that Nick Offerman “was joking about a prequel, that was kind of a joke,” finally adding, “We are very happy with what we achieved.”
So yes, the whole thing reads like a poor, tired man frustrated to be clearing up the confusion created by the fantastic improvisational comedian he temporarily employed a year ago. “Kind of a joke” indeed.
Shooting begins on The Last of Us season two in February. Mazin assured Deadline that the sling star Pedro Pascal was sporting at January’s award ceremonies wouldn’t stop him from clocking in.