Everything We Know About HBO’s The Last Of Us TV Show

Everything We Know About HBO’s The Last Of Us TV Show
Image: HBO/Binge

Movies based on video games don’t have the best track record, but TV shows based on video games still have a relatively clean slate.

There’s an endless number of video game adaptations coming down the pipe, including big-name projects like Amazon’s Fallout series and Paramount’s Knuckles TV show. Though none may be more anticipated than HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us.

HBO announced its The Last of Us project ages ago and the show has been picking up steam as it continues filming in Canada. While details are still pretty thin on the ground, here’s everything we do know about the series so far.

Who’s involved?

the last of us tv series

The Last of Us and The Last of Us 2 are beloved games, so meddling with them in any way would be quite a risk for HBO. However, there are a few positive signs that this adaptation is set to be a good one.

For starters, The Last of Us game director and Naughty Dog co-president, Neil Druckmann, is onboard as an executive producer. There’s pretty much no one else in the world who knows The Last of Us games like Druckmann, so it’s in safe hands there.

He’s also working with a long-time fan of the games and award-winning Chernobyl writer, Craig Mazin, who we know can write a damn good TV show.

The series has hired relatively unknown directors so far. Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole) is helming the pilot episode and Jasmila Zbanic (Quo Vadis, Aida) and Ali Abbasi (Border) also taking episodes in the series. Liza Johnson (What We Do In The Shadows), Peter Hoar (Daredevil) and Jeremy Webb (The Umbrella Academy) will also reportedly helm episodes as will Druckmann.

Gustavo Santaolalla, who gave us The Last of Us’ excellent soundtrack, will also be back to compose music for the show.

HBO itself has a strong track record of producing high-quality genre shows, including Game of Thrones, Westworld and Watchmen. Here’s hoping the studio’s breadth of experience follows through here.

Sony Pictures Television and PlayStation Productions are also on board behind the scenes.

Will the TV show be different to the games?

Everything We Know About HBO’s The Last Of Us TV Show

Many fans can attest to the fact that The Last of Us games are already very cinematic, in terms of acting, narrative and visuals. So, translating this into a TV show shouldn’t be that hard, right?

This is the plot synopsis according to the HBO announcement:

The story takes place twenty years after modern civilisation 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 across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.  

That sure does sound like The Last of Us.

The announcement also notes that the series will cover the events of the original game” with the “possibility of additional content” based on The Last of Us 2.

Neil Druckmann revealed in an interview with IGN that the first season of the show will cover the events of the first game.

Druckmann said things in the show will stick pretty closely to the game for the most part. However, some things will differ greatly due to the differences between mediums.

“Some of my favourite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them,” he said. Whether the audience agrees will be a different question.

Should there be another season of The Last of Us we can assume that will take us into the events of Part II. Given there’s a five-year time gap between games that leaves plenty of room to expand upon those lost years in the TV show.

The first official image from the show was released on The Last of Us day in 2021 and, as you can see, things are looking pretty accurate.

HBO also released the first official image from the show at Summer Games Fest showing Joel and Ellie crouching behind a table hiding (so far, very much like the game). If you look closely in the background you can see the outline of a Clicker.

the last of us tv show
Image: HBO/Binge

The Last of Us TV show: Cast

Joel and Ellie are incredibly popular and well-written characters. They were portrayed by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson in both video games, but neither actor will be carrying on their character in the TV show.

Instead, we have Game of Thrones stars Bella Ramsay as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel.

Ramsay seems to be a perfect fit given her breakout performance as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones basically stole the show. She was able to bring both fire and vulnerability to her role and we’re sure to see her take more of that to the role of Ellie.

Pascal has similarly spent plenty of time shepherding a young companion across the galaxy in The Mandalorian so we know he can pull off the reluctant dad role.

We also know that Joel’s brother, Tommy, will be played by Terminator: Dark Fate star Gabriel Luna and Tess will be portrayed by Fringe’s Anna Torv. Nico Parker is playing Sarah, Joel’s daughter.

Nick Offerman is playing jaded survivor Bill while Murray Bartlett guest stars as his partner Frank, who we never actually met during the events of the game.

It was also recently announced that Storm Reid (Euphoria) will play Ellie’s best friend Riley, which means we should see the events of Left Behind covered in the show as well.

Some actors from the games have also managed to make the jump to The Last of Us on HBO.

Jeffrey Pierce, who’s known as Tommy in the games, will simply play a “rebel in a quarantine zone”. Meanwhile, Merle Dandridge is reprising her role as Marlene, aka the leader of the Fireflies.

At Summer Games Fest we also learned that voice stars of the games, Troy Baker (Joel) and Ashley Johnson (Ellie), will have “significant” roles in the upcoming series. Very cool news indeed.

You can check out some of the first pictures of the cast on set thanks to @HBOsTheLastofUs.

The Last of Us TV show: release date

Filming for HBO’s The Last of Us is currently taking place in Canada and is expected to last around 12 months. Based on that, expect to be waiting a while longer for that first episode to drop.

No release date has been announced but Bella Ramsay did repost an IMDB article that seemingly confirmed The Last of Us will be released in 2022.

The episode count is expected to be made up of 10 (very expensive) episodes in the first season.

The Last of Us will debut on HBO and HBO Max in the US, but here in Australia we’ll be able to watch it on Binge. 

Watch this space for more updates as we get closer to the premiere of The Last of Us TV series.

This article has been updated with additional information.


  • “For starters, The Last of Us game director and Naughty Dog co-president, Neil Druckmann, is onboard as an executive producer. There’s pretty much no one else in the world who knows The Last of Us games like Druckmann, so it’s in safe hands there.”

    Dunno about anyone else but I’d be worried about this. Amy Hennig wrote and directed the first game, while Druckman did Part II as Henning had left the studio. The first game’s narrative has been universally praised, but Part II’s narrative has been…well…divisive, at best. If you loved the first game but hated the second, I don’t think this will be good news to you. Druckman’s comments about episodes “deviating greatly from the story” should raise concerns immediately.

    • Zod dammit why did autocorrect mess up the spelling of both Hennig and Druckmann’s names? Uggh.

    • Everything you said is wrong. Amy Hennig had nothing to do with The Last of Us as she was busy with Uncharted 3 and then her scrapped version of Uncharted 4 at the time. The first Last of Us game was written solely by Druckmann and co-directed by him and Bruce Straley. Part Two he co-wrote with Halley Gross and co-directed with Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau.

    • “Amy Hennig wrote and directed the first game, while Druckman did Part II as Henning had left the studio.”

      This is false though. Hennig never worked on The Last of Us. She worked on the Uncharted series and left after starting on Uncharted 4. She is not credited on TLOU, and has been quoted in an interview stating:
      “GamesBeat: What do you remember most now about The Last of Us?
      Hennig: I didn’t work on it, since I was working on Uncharted at the same time.”
      Link: https://venturebeat.com/2019/02/22/amy-hennig-interview-surviving-the-trauma-of-making-a-video-game-and-inspiring-newcomers/view-all/

      As much as I have issue with the writing in TLOU2, there’s no point spouting false info.

  • “The Last of Us and ̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶L̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶U̶s̶ ̶̶2̶ are beloved games”… fixed.

  • It’s gonna suck. This is the same guy who wasted millions on building a church set for a trailer release at E3 that had nothing to the gameplay and did nothing but weird people out (romance BS during a zombie apocalypse as your key trailer? Yeah, that totally makes sense). Regardless, I’m on standby to laugh at it.

    • Oh Louie.. are you still having a hard time coming to facts that they put a girl with muscles in your video game? You sound very hurt

      • Everytime a TLOU2 Apologist comes in and repeats the rhetoric, it makes me smile, especially when the person you are replying to is a girl herself.
        Fun fun fun.

        • “TLOU2 Apologist”

          You ever stop and think: hey, maybe I am being completely ridiculous?

          Just let people like things. A whole bunch of people seem to act like hating a particular entertainment product and it’s fans is their job.

          • Can’t disagree there. I liked, but not loved TLOU2 personally. I had issues with the games length (I think it ran possibly 3 hours too long and went past it’s natural endpoint, or at least could’ve cut out a few parts, like the semi open world horse bit to shorten it), but overworld quite liked it myself. But I really enjoyed its story and ultimately the tale it told.

            But I won’t slam those who constructively criticise it’s issues and dislike it, nor will I slam those who love it more than I did. I think the internet has divided people into a black and white situation, where people feel you ‘must’ love or hate something, and there’s a segment of those (not all) who have a mentality of ‘fuck those who don’t fall into either camp’.

            Like you said, just let people like (or dislike) things and live and let live. However that being said, we also must accept rational discourse, and learn to do that maturely, point and counterpoint as such, but not delve into personal insults etc. I’ve had some fantastic conversations about TLOU and it’s potentially deceptive framing of Joel as a hero, or at least the sliding scale of ‘what is a hero’ and ‘when does a hero become a villain’ etc, where points were countered, retracted and points of view altered during the course of discussion, as views were respected.

          • No i dont, because someone is so headfast onto the belief that if you dont like the game you must not like a girl with muscles in your videogames bullshit that i will call them out on it and consider you decided to miss that to go on “Youre being ridiculous” statement instead because you like the game. My point VERY MUCH STANDS.

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