Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us debuted in 2013. The action-adventure game quickly acquired devoted fans enthralled by its story focused on Joel and Ellie. Joel, a smuggler, and Ellie, a teenage girl, try to make their way across a post-apocalyptic United States. An infection has ravaged the country, but Ellie’s immune and could possibly help with a cure. The escort and teen duo encounter danger along the way in the form of violent humans and scary fungus-infected creatures. Players became invested in their story. And now, HBO is bringing The Last of Us of to the screen. The network greenlit the project in November 2020.
Here’s everything we know about the series.
Like the game, the series is called The Last of Us.
The Last of Us‘ Plot
The series will span a cool 10 episodes and will follow the first game, at least initially. This means we can easily assume the story will follow the award-winning video game’s narrative. It’s set in the 2030s. Joel, a smuggler who has seen some s**t, gets Ellie out of a quarantine zone for their journey. They must depend upon each other for survival as they travel from east to west. By all accounts, it’s an intense and emotional story, so brace yourself.
Here’s how HBO is describing the series:
Based on the critically acclaimed video game The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation platforms, the story takes place twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.
In addition to this synopsis, the network also recently revealed the first footage from the show, alongside new images as well as a full trailer.
In celebration of the show’s attendance at CCXP, The Last of Us also offered us first looks at many of the series’ new characters. The new posters reveal everyone from Nick Offerman as Bill to Lamar Johnson as Henry to Anna Torv as Tess to Gabriel Luna as Tommy. Of course, we also see Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie once again. Take a look at who we can expect to see when The Last of Us airs on HBO Max.
Most recently, creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann revealed their plans for the timeline of season one and the show as a whole.
Mazin noted, “The first season is the events of the first game—and you can tell, if you have played the game, from watching the marketing materials that we’re also covering the events of the Left Behind [downloadable content]… I think that the amount of story that remains that we have not covered would be more than a season of television. So assuming we can keep going forward, the idea would be to do more than just one more season. But this isn’t the kind of show that is going to be seven seasons.”
It sounds like, while there are more than two seasons planned for The Last of Us, the creators don’t intend for the show to go on forever or even past the games. Mazin further adds:
Unless some miraculous thing happened and the video game production was accelerated by 1000% and the third game magically came out… I am not interested in going beyond the existing source material. As a viewer, I have no problem watching shows that just keep going and going and going. No problem. But as a writer, I don’t want to be in the position of spinning plates to just spool out season after season of stuff. To me, it’s important that things are purposeful, and if they’re purposeful, that means they have endings. That means everything you do is carefully selected and chosen, not just there to keep going.”
There you have it, The Last of Us series will keep within the bounds of The Last of Us, the Left Behind downloadable content, and The Last of Us Part II. And it sounds like a solid plan is in place to make sure the show covers all of the material with purpose.
As the show begins, we’re eager to see how everything we heard in the lead-up to its premiere unfolds. To keep us at the edge of our seats, HBO Max released a ‘Weeks Ahead’ trailer for The Last of Us. The teaser takes us through the episodes to come and promises us compelling characters, harrowing scares, and a whole lot of zombies.
Behind the Scenes
Neil Druckmann, the writer and creative director of The Last of Us game, will write and executive produce the series. Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) will also write and executive produce. Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Word Games, and Naughty Dog are producing. The series, which is now in production, released its first look at Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey Joel and Ellie. Sure, we can’t see their faces. But the world Druckmann and Mazin are building looks incredible.
At the 2022 Summer Game Fest, Druckmann revealed he directed an episode of the series, which is set at a museum. Fans of The Last of Us will certainly recognize this as it’s from the game. HBO even released an image from Druckmann’s episode. The image is the classic HBO dark but it certainly looks like they’re hiding from someone—or something. Are those Clickers we see?
Gustavo Santaolalla, who composed both installments of The Last of Us video games, will bring his musical talents to the HBO series.
The Last of Us‘ Cast
HBO has already cast the two lead roles of Ellie and Joel. Pedro Pascal will portray Joel, which is perfect. And Bella Ramsey, perhaps best known for playing Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, is set to play Ellie. That is also perfect. We can’t wait to see the duo together.
Additionally, Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Murray Bartlett, Nico Parker, and Nick Offerman will star, alongside a slew of actors from the games. Merle Dandridge, who voiced Marlene in the games, will play Marlene in the Series. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Pierce (Tommy in the games), Ashley Johnson (Ellie in the games), and and Troy Baker (Joel in the games) will appear in new roles, per HBO.
Most recently, The Last of Us cast fan-favorite game characters, Henry and Sam. These brothers eventually team up with Joel and Ellie in the games, helping them to dodge human and zombie threats. In the HBO series, Lamar Johnson will play Henry. In the meanwhile, Keivonn Woodard will play the younger brother, Sam.
Per IGN, a release notes more about the characters, offering “Lamar Johnson as Henry and Keivonn Woodard as Sam, brothers in Kansas City hiding from a revolutionary movement seeking vengeance.” This indicates a slight difference from the original game, where the brothers were introduced in Pittsburgh.
In addition, two new characters, original to The Last of Us show, have also been cast. They are “a married couple surviving alone in the wilderness of post-apocalyptic Wyoming.” Graham Greene and Elaine Miles will guest star as Marlon and Florence.
Among other guest stars is Storm Reid, who will play Riley, an orphan from post-apocalyptic Boston who survives alongside Ellie prior to the latter meeting Joel. Sounds like this cast really nails it.
Finally, Rutina Wesley has joined The Last of Us‘ cast as Maria. Entertainment Weekly describes Maria as “the leader of a settlement of survivors in Jackson, Wyoming. She has an expanded role in The Last of Us Part II, but it’s possible we will see more of her earlier in the series.
The Last of Us‘ Release Date
HBO’s The Last of Us series will release on January 15, 2023.
We’re excited to celebrate the new year with The Last of Us.
Originally published on March 18, 2021.
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