The original game from Naughty Dog was a huge hit when it came out in 2013 (8 years ago!), but The Last of Us will become so much more when it releases as a series on the small screen later next year.
Production is currently underway in Calgary for the HBO series that is said to stick fairly close to the storyline from the games. This is certainly great news as the story-heavy narrative in those games has not only branched off into comic books, but it’s also won the creators several prestigious awards.
So what can we expect from this new HBO series? Let’s check out everything we know about The Last of Us now.
Who’s in it?
Currently confirmed cast members include The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal as Joel, Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey as Ellie, Terminator: Dark Fate’s Gabriel Luna as Joel’s younger brother Tommy, Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah, and Merle Dandridge as Marlene. Dandridge also played Marlene in the games as well.
The crew of The Last of Us spotted today at Lord Shaughnessy High School, in Calgary. #TheLastofUsHBO
📸: BenTheBomb246 | Reddit pic.twitter.com/H9uQimvqbv
— The Last of Us Updates (@TheLastofUsNews) July 10, 2021
Who’s Making it?
Neil Druckmann, the writer and director of original game, has also written the script for the show. Joining Druckmann is Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin while Game of Thrones’ Carolyn Strauss will produce.
Interestingly enough, there are five directors lined up to direct the ten episodes, and Craig Mazin recently revealed in a podcast interview that the directors of photography have also been paired with each director for the episodes. Right now we know that Ali Abbasi, Kantemir Balagov, and Jasmila Zbanic will be three of those directors.
As for the soundtrack, we’ll get the amazing Gustavo Santaolalla, who also composed both games, for the series.
What’s it About?
The original games are set against a post-apocalyptic backdrop after a fungal infection known as Cordyceps turned most of humanity into crazed zombie-like creatures. The uninfected humans are confined to strict quarantine zones and one of the main characters, Joel, is tasked with secretly transporting the other main character, Ellie, across the country to see if she holds the key to a cure.
Druckmann has said before that the plot of the TV series will stick closely to that of the games, but there will certainly be some deviations that will just fit better with a TV format. The series is expected to explore the drama between characters much more deeply than the game as well.
Regarding the similarities, Druckmann said, “For example, in the game, there’s so much action you have to train the player about mechanics. You have to have more violence and more spectacle to some degree than you would need on a TV show because you don’t need to train people on how to use a gun. So that’s something that’s been really different, and HBO’s been great in pushing us to move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character. Some of my favorite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them.”
It has also been confirmed that the characters will stick so closely to their game counterparts that some dialogue will be shared and Ellie will remain LGBTQ.
Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Nico Parker (Sarah) on a boat ride today in Calgary. 🛶pic.twitter.com/qCLn1lcNTh
— The Last of Us Updates (@TheLastofUsNews) July 11, 2021
How Many Episodes?
The Last of Us has been confirmed for 10 episodes on HBO, with five directors spread among them. Neil Druckmann told IGN at SXSW 2021 that there will be multiple seasons of the show, with the first season focusing on the first game.
Isn’t There Also a Movie?
A feature film version of the game’s plot was originally planned to be created by Druckmann and Sam Raimi back in 2014, but it eventually fell apart due to some disagreements between Druckmann and Sony.
There was even a 20-minute animated short that was in the works to serve as a “strong bridge” between the first game and the sequel, but it was ultimately cancelled by Sony.
When Will the HBO Series Release?
While there is no officially announced release date for the HBO series, the production timeline points toward an early 2023 release. Filming just began earlier this month and is expected to continue through to June of 2022. With post-production time in place after that, we don’t realistically see that first episode hitting our screens until early 2023.