HBO has brought the epic video game The Last of Us to life. The post-apocalyptic series involves characters and storylines from the hit video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2013. The Last Of Us was released on PlayStation 3 and instantly became one of the most popular video games of all time.
After the first two episodes of The Last Of Us drew huge ratings, HBO renewed the show for season 2 on January 27. The network previously revealed that the premiere episode drew 4.7 million viewers across linear and HBO Max platforms, based on Nielsen and first-party data. This was HBO’s second-largest debut behind House of the Dragon, since Boardwalk Empire premiered in 2010 before HBO programming was broadly available on a streaming app. Here’s everything you need to know about HBO’s The Last Of Us, including the the cast and more.
The Last Of Us Season 2 Confirmed
Fans were overjoyed when The Last Of Us scored a season 2 renewal after only two episodes of the series had aired. Neil Druckmann, executive producer of the show, and the writer and creative director of the video game, said in a statement, “I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations. Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two!”
Where & When Can I Watch The Last Of Us TV Series?
The Last Of Us premiered on January 15, 2023, at 9 p.m. ET. The show airs HBO and is available to stream on HBOMax. It’s not available on Netflix or any other streaming service. Initially, the show was supposed to start in 2022, but then HBO Programming Chief Casey Bloys clarified that it would be shifting to 2023. “The Last Of Us is shooting right now in Canada. We haven’t announced an air date yet,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in February 2022. “But it’s not 2022. They’re still shooting in Calgary.”
Craig Mazin, who developed the show alongside Neil Druckmann, revealed on a podcast in July 2021 that the series will consist of ten episodes. Each episode will be about an hour long, Craig said, which means the show’s total run-time will be ten hours long.
The Last Of Us began filming on July 12, 2021, in Canada’s Calgary, Alberta. The cast and crew reportedly had to quarantine for two weeks before entering Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming also took place in Downton Edmonton in October 2021. Production officially wrapped on June 11, 2022.
Who Is The Cast of The Last Of Us?
- Pedro Pascal is Joel, who is tasked with smuggling a young girl named Ellie out of the post-apocalyptic United States. Pedro filmed the show after the release of the second season of his popular Star Wars series The Mandalorian. He reportedly received several big offers from networks and streamers for different projects, and he ultimately chose The Last of Us. Mahershala Ali and Matthew McConaughey were reportedly in the mix to play Joel. Pedro was officially cast in the lead role in February 2021.
- Bella Ramsey is Ellie, a 14-year-old orphan who is the key to creating a vaccine that can save the world. Bella is best known for playing Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones. Bella was officially cast as Ellie in February 2021. “We were looking for a specific combination of contradictions: Someone that can be funny and quirky, and violent and rough,” Neil told the New York Times about casting Bella. When he watched Bella’s audition tape, he said, “I didn’t see Bella acting like Ellie — I saw Ellie.”
- Gabriel Luna is Tommy, Joel’s younger brother and a former soldier. Gabriel is best known for playing Ghost Rider in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. He auditioned for the role of Tommy in March 2021 and got the job the following day.
The supporting cast of The Last Of Us includes Merle Dandridge as Marlene, the head of the resistance movement called the Fireflies. She voiced that role in the video game. Jeffrey Pierce, who voiced Tommy in the video game, is playing Perry, a rebel in quarantine. Anna Torv of Fringe will star as Tess, Joel’s smuggler partner.
The guest cast includes Thandiwe Newton’s daughter Nico Parker (Dumbo) as Sarah, Joel’s daughter; Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus) as Frank, a survivalist; Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) as Bill, a survivalist; and Storm Reid (Euphoria) as Riley, an orphaned girl living in post-apocalyptic Boston.
Other cast members include Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, Lamar Johnson as Henry, Keivonn Woodard as Sam, Graham Greene as Marlon, and Elaine Miles as Florence. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker also star.
What Can We Expect From The Story?
The official synopsis for the series reads: “The Last of Us story takes place twenty years after modern civilization 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 the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”
Creator Neil Druckmann told IGN that some of the storylines will “deviate greatly” from the events of the video game. “Some of my favorite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them,” he said. One confirmed change is that the show’s outbreak will take place in 2003, as opposed to the video game where it occurs in 2013.
Lead star Pedro Pascal also teased HBO’s series in an interview with GQ in April 2022. “There’s a very, very creative way of honoring what’s important and also preserving what is iconic to the experience of the video game, and also things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect,” he said. “And then directions that you would expect it to go, and it might not… they’re doing some really smart things, is all I can say. It’s in good hands because they [Craig and Neil] love it so much. So it really is made for the people that love it. And there’s some very intense storytelling for people who might be less familiar.”
The official trailer dropped on December 3 at CCXP in Brazil and has amassed over 7 million views on YouTube in just two days. “If you don’t think there’s hope for the world, why bother going on?” Bella Ramsey’s Ellie asks in the trailer. Pedro Pascal‘s Joel replies, “You haven’t seen the world, you don’t know. You keep going for family.” Ellie asks, “I’m not family?” Joel says, “You’re cargo.” The two-minute trailer ends with a glimpse of a terrifying monster.
A nearly 2-minute teaser trailer was released on September 26. The majority of the teaser doesn’t contain any dialogue, just Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken” plays. Someone tells Pedro’s Joel in the final moments of the teaser, “Save who you can save.”
Who’s The Creative Team?
Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann are the developers and writers of The Last Of Us TV show. Craig is best known for creating the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries Chernobyl. Neil helped create and direct The Last Of Us video game. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in June 2020, Neil talked about adapting the game for television.
“With TV you have to figure out how it communicates ideas or tells stories. In removing the interactivity of the story, how do you make it unique for this other medium?” he said. “It’s an interesting challenge, and I think there’s a lot to learn from it.”
Gustavo Santaolalla will compose the score for the HBO series, just like he did for the video game. Kantemir Balagov is directing the first episode of the series. The cinematography team includes Ksenia Sereda, Eben Bolter, Christine A. Maier, and Nadim Carlsen. Executive producers include Craig, Neil, Carolyn Strauss, Rose Lam, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, and Carter Swan.
What’s HBO’s Budget For The Last Of Us?
HBO’s The Last Of Us reportedly has a budget of $10 million per episode. That comes out to a whopping $100 million spent on the entire first season. It’s apparently the largest television production ever in Canadian history. HollywoodLife will continue to give updates on the show right here.