Naughty Dog’s smash-hit The Last Of Us received universal acclaim and, in both its original and remastered versions, was one of the best-selling games on the PS3 and the PS4. So it seemed destined to eventually inspire a live-action adaptation.
A post-apocalyptic action-adventure set in a world ravaged by a deadly infection, it’s a timely tale to tell. But, since the game’s initial release back in 2013, a live-action version of The Last Of Us has been stuck in development hell.
It was originally destined to be a movie, produced by horror legend Sam Raimi. However, the plans stalled after a disagreement between the game’s writer and creative director, Neil Druckmann, and the powers that be at Sony Pictures.
Cut to March 2020 and, partly thanks to renewed excitement around the game’s sequel, The Last Of Us Part II, another adaption was announced. This time, though, the project is heading to the telly, backed by small-screen hitmaker HBO (Game Of Thrones, The Wire, The Sopranos…the list goes on). It’s being developed by the creative team behind the award-winning miniseries Chernobyl, too, so expectations are high.
So, here’s everything we know about The Last Of Us HBO television series…
The Last Of Us TV series cast
When The Last of Us was allegedly being developed as a movie back in the mid-2010s, Maisie Williams was heavily linked with the role of Ellie. However, the role has instead gone to another Game of Thrones cast member - Bella Ramsey - known for playing Lyanna Mormont - as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Hours before news of Bella Ramsey's casting broke, Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali was reported to have been offered the role of Joel in The Last of Us' TV show, although had not signed a contract. However, it has now been confirmed that The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal will star in the show as Joel.
The two castings were then confirmed on Twitter by The Last of Us director Neil Druckmann.
We still do not know who will play the likes of Tommy, Marlene, Tess, Bill, David, Henry and Sam in The Last of Us' TV series, if these characters will even appear in the show.
The Last Of Us TV series production
The show is currently in development at HBO, but there’s no word yet on when filming will start – the producers likely hadn’t counted on a real-life pandemic bringing the industry to a standstill this summer.
Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is attached to write and produce the series alongside Druckmann. “Neil is the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last Of Us is his magnum opus,” Mazin told Variety earlier this year. “Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years.” Safe to say he’s a fan, then.
The show will be Mazin’s first project since Chernobyl, which won 10 Emmy awards and 9 TV Baftas, including one for ‘Best Miniseries’. The Last Of Us will also be the first television series from newly created studio PlayStation Productions.
The Last Of Us TV series plot
The TV show is expected to closely follow the plot of the first game, in which hardened survivor Joel is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie – whose immunity may hold the key to a cure – out of a heavily policed quarantine zone. It's not all plain sailing, though, as their mission soon turns into an epic cross-country fight for survival.
The show will reportedly also include some elements from this year’s critically acclaimed sequel, The Last Of Us Part II. However, we’d imagine the showrunners would save the main plot of that game to mine for a potential second series.
The Last Of Us TV series trailer
The show is still in the early stages of production and hasn’t even started filming, so there’s no trailer just yet, unfortunately. As soon as any future footage finds its way to the interweb, we’ll include it here.
The Last Of Us TV series release date
Again, there’s no word on a potential air date for The Last Of Us TV show, but we’d imagine that the producers won’t want to hang around. They’ll presumably want to capitalise on the buzz around The Last Of Us Part II. Also, with The Walking Dead finally shuffling to a close, there’s definitely room for another infected-creature drama to take its place.
However, given the current state of things, will there be an immediate appetite for a story that’s a bit too close for comfort? Well, the pandemic obviously didn’t affect The Last Of Us Part II too badly – the game became one of the fastest-selling PlayStation titles ever following its release in June 2020, so it doesn't seem like that's too much of an issue.