The emotional bond a player can create with fictional characters is unbreakable, and having recently played The Last Of Us for the first time I understand that sentiment even more. Joel and Ellie’s journey is one that places you in a third-person perspective, but makes you feel like you’re right there with them traversing a dreary yet hopeful post-apocalyptic landscape. In that sense, it’s the perfect blueprint for a series adaptation — which is now confirmed to be happening. So here’s everything you need to know about The Last Of Us TV series, and how it will tackle the process of being translated to the small screen.
What’s the premise of The Last Of Us?
In 2013, a parasitic infection caused by the fungus Cordyceps causes 60 per cent of humanity to be decimated. The rest are either survivors or have been taken over by the infection like zombies. As the Scientific American blog writes, the “new, unidentified species of Cordyceps turns humans first into violent ‘infected’ and then into blind ‘clickers’ complete with fruiting bodies sprouting from their faces.” Humans can be infected through a bite, scratch, or inhalation of spores.
You begin The Last Of Us as Joel, who is attempting to flee the suburbs of Austin, Texas with his daughter Sarah and brother Tommy. The game then jumps forward twenty years and Joel is now a smuggler in a quarantined zone of Boston. He and his partner Tess are trying to recover a stolen weapons cache, and they eventually discover that the Fireflies (a rebel militia) have it in their possession. They soon encounter the group’s leader Marlene, who promises to double their cache if they smuggle a teenage girl named Ellie outside the city’s quarantine zone. Why? Because she’s immune to the infection, and might be the last hope for a cure.
How will The Last Of Us be adapted to a series format?
Announced on March 5, Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin will collaborate with HBO to produce a series of The Last Of Us, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Not only that, but the game’s writer Neil Druckmann is also on board to help bring the game to life. “Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium,” Mazin said in a press statement. “Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honoured to do it in partnership with Neil.”
Druckmann is equally as excited and is as much of a fan of Mazin’s work. “From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last Of Us,” Druckmann added. “With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn’t think of better partners to bring the story of The Last Of Us to life as a television show.”
Not a lot has been revealed in terms of how the game and its gameplay will be translated to television, but if Chernobyl’s tone and the work of its makeup department are anything to go by, Mazin is the perfect fit to display the horrifying effects of the Cordyceps infection.
What happened to The Last Of Us movie?
Like Uncharted, plans for a film adaptation of The Last of Us have been in the works for quite some time. In 2014, Sony announced that Screen Gems, “a division of Sony Pictures, was working on a movie adaptation” of the game “which would be written by game director and Naughty Dog VP Neil Druckmann and produced by iconic filmmaker Sam Raimi,” as movie site Screen Rant writes.
Four years later, the project was brought up during a discussion with 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg at DICE Summit 2018. “...And even I worked on the script for The Last of Us film, which was a direct adaptation. And now, having some separation from it, I look back and [am] like, ‘I don’t want that movie to be made.’” He continued:
“Maybe there’s something that could be done in the world, either focusing on other characters or other time. But, for me, and I know for Naughty Dog and for a lot of our fans, Nolan North is Nathan Drake, Ashely Johnson is Ellie, Troy Baker is Joel. And it would be very disorientating to see someone else in that role.”
Has anyone been cast in The Last Of Us TV series?
Not yet, and it’s going to be a difficult task. As Druckmann rightly points out, it’s hard to dissociate Joel and Ellie from their voice and motion actors. They brought those characters to life, and will forever be connected to them.
But that’s not to say fans haven’t started thinking about who would suit the roles. Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Gerard Butler, and Eliza Scanlan are all names that fans would be happy to see as Joel and Ellie. For me though, I think Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Kaitlyn Dever are the perfect fit. I mean, just look at this side-by-side of the two of them. They fit so well.
Is there a release date for The Last Of Us TV series?
It’s still early days, but I’ll keep this post updated when a date is announced.