HBO’s The Last of Us Has a Release Date and I Am Not Ready

HBO’s The Last of Us Has a Release Date and I Am Not Ready

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 Netflix’s BioShock movie. Though none may be more anticipated than HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us.

The Last of Us TV show was announced ages ago, with filming taking place in Canada for a full year. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming series.

The Last of Us TV show: Release date

the last of us tv show

After accidentally leaking the release date on its own app, HBO confirmed recently that The Last of Us will premiere on January 16, 2023.

The episode count consists of nine (very expensive) episodes in the first season. This means the finale will air sometime in March 2023.

The Last of Us will debut on Binge here in Australia, which is home to all things HBO-related.

After what seems like years of this series being in development, this release date suddenly feels very soon. If you need me I’ll be enduring and surviving until January.

Who’s involved?

the last of us

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 on board 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 House of the Dragon, Westworld and Watchmen. Here’s hoping the studio’s breadth of experience follows through here.

Sony Pictures Television and PlayStation Productions are backing the series behind the scenes.

Will the TV show be different to the games?

the last of us
Screenshot: HBO

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:

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.

Is there a trailer for The Last of Us TV show?

The first teaser trailer for The Last of Us was released, aptly, on The Last of Us day in 2022, which is marked on September 26 to honour the day the pandemic broke out in the game.

The trailer shows us very accurate depictions of many iconic scenes in the game, including our first glimpse at the horrifying infected.

Look at my children.

the last of us
Screenshot: HBO

Protect them.

the last of us tv show
Screenshot: HBO

You can see the first poster art for the series below.

There’s a rumour going around that The Last of Us might get an additional trailer at the 2022 Game Awards, which seems like an appropriate place to release it. We’ll keep you posted if that does end up happening.

The Last of Us TV show: Cast

the last of us tv show
Image: HBO/Binge

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 (although they both will appear in the series in different roles).

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 The White Lotus star Murray Bartlett guest stars as his partner Frank, who we never actually met during the events of the game.

It was also 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.

One of the new characters the HBO adaptation will introduce is Yellowjackets’ Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, who is a ruthless leader of a rebel movement in Kansas City.

If you want to get up to speed before the new series releases you can play The Last of Us Part I and The Last of Us Part II on PlayStation.

This article has been updated with additional information.


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