The Last Of Us TV Adaptation: Everything You Need To Know

The Last Of Us (game)

by James White |
Published on

Wait! The Last Of Us? The game?

Last Of Us

The very same! Launched in 2013 by company Naughty Dog, The Last Of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world and focuses on smuggler Joel, and Ellie, who may just be the key to a cure for the pandemic that has wrecked the planet. It's not overstating things to say that the game was a massive hit, spawning a loyal (if sometimes divided, but what's new?) fanbase and lots of money in the bank. Fan fiction, spin-offs and more followed.

Wasn't this going to be a movie at some point?

Sam Raimi

You recall correctly. Sam Raimi jumped aboard a film version of the game in early 2014, and at the San Diego Comic-Con that year, he showed up to pimp the movie, and drop a hint that Game Of Thrones' Maisie Williams was in early talks to play Ellie. Game co-creator Neil Druckmann was attached to write the script. But things went very quiet, and in April of 2016, word arose that it had fallen into development limbo. The key point? A disagreement between Sony (which had the film rights) and Druckmann's idea for the plot.

So now The Last Of Us will be on telly?

Craig Mazin, The Last Of US (Game)

It will! And in an exciting development, it'll spring from the mind of Craig Mazin, who brought us the excellent Chernobyl at HBO. The cable channel is also behind this one, so you know it'll have the backing of a big production budget, a marketing blitz and little to worry about in terms of content restrictions or needing to address advertiser concerns. Druckmann is also involved once more, and the game's composer, Gustavo Santaolalla, will be providing the music.

What do we know about the Last Of Us TV show?

Neil Druckmann

Druckmann has been typically active on social media, answering a few questions (as has Mazin), indicating that alongside Ellie, we'll see her Left Behind girlfriend, Riley, as well as Tess, Marlene, Maria, and a character he won't confirm – which could be Anna, Ellie unseen mother, who died before the events of the first game. Story-wise, Mazin has said that at least the first season will draw from the first game, but there's room for elements from future games (see below).

Mazin, who hosts the Scriptnotes Podcast with fellow writer John August, has opened up a little more about his thinking on the show. "My feeling was ‘you can’t make a movie out of this, it has to be a show. It needs length. It’s about the development of a relationship over a long journey, so it has to be a television show – and that’s that, that’s the way I see it. Happily, Neil agreed and HBO was delighted. So, here we are."

So when will the show be on TV?

Last Of Us

Not for a while yet. And not just because of the current world situation.

As Mazin explains: "We can’t start on it right away because they’re still finishing up the second game. We’ve been talking about it for months, little plans and things. We’re going to dig in in full, full earnest once they wrap up their final work on the sequel. Hopefully more exciting news to come on that front ‘cos it’s something we’re both motivated to see on TV."

Did you ever fantasy-cast the movie's version of Joel?

Captain Fantastic

We did. You can find that list here. We still think a few of them could work for the TV adaptation. Many aren't really known for their small screen work of late, but the Mazin show is for HBO, so you know it'll have the prestige to attract a big name, assuming that's the way the producer wishes to go.

And what of the game's future?

The Last Of Us Part II

There was a big wrinkle late last month when huge spoilers leaked from the game's sequel after (so the company says) hackers accessed Naughty Dog's system. We won't got into them here, but it did have some effect:The Last Of Us Part II's release date has now been revealed, with word that the game will arrive on 19 June, with a trailer online.

Read Empire's original interview with game creators Bruce Straley and Druckmann.

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