The Last of Us news, cast, spoilers, release date and more on the upcoming drama

The Last of Us

The Last of Us, HBO’s prestige sci-fi drama, won’t be on our screens until next year, but anticipation for the video game adaptation is at an all-time high after a trailer was released on Monday, September 26th.

Not only that, but fans who were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to see Joel and Ellie’s live-action debut on this side of the Atlantic can breathe a sigh of relief.

Sony’s video game adaptations haven’t fared well in the live-action realm, with the most recent attempt, Uncharted, receiving mixed reviews and some fan backlash.

It seems that The Last of Us could change that course, at least judging by the brilliant – and terrifying – trailer.

Not only does it boast an excellent cast led by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, but it also features an impressive creative team that includes Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and game writer/creative director Neil Druckmann.

It was also announced that the series would air on Sky and NOW in the United Kingdom, following in the footsteps of Euphoria, House of the Dragon, Succession, and others.

So, what else do we know about the 10-part series and who else is going to be in it? Read on to find out.

The Last of Us TV show release date speculation

According to the Director’s Guild of Canada, The Last of Us production spanned an 11-month shoot in Calgary, which began back in July 2021 and concluded in June [via CBC].

Previously, the show had been expected to premiere before the end of this year, but HBO programming chief Casey Bloys poured a bucket of cold water on that theory.

“We haven’t announced an air date yet but it’s not 2022,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in February.

This wasn’t a total surprise as The Last of Us is likely to feature extensive visual effects which will require a lengthy stint in post-production to render, so our current prediction is that the series will launch in spring 2023.

With any luck, the wait will be worth it, as HBO is pouring an eye-watering sum of money into this project. So far and judging by the trailer, it seems like that could well be the case.

Damian Petti, president of union branch IATSE 212, told CTV News that the budget of the show “well exceeds the eight figure per episode mark”, suggesting a minimum spend of more than $100 million across the first season’s 10 chapters.

Of that money, Variety reported that $600,000 per episode (for a total of $6 million) is going to lead actor Pedro Pascal, making him one of the top paid actors in television.

The Last of Us TV show cast

Taking on the roles of Joel and Ellie is a daunting task as so many people are already heavily invested in these characters. However, we have a feeling that the team behind The Last of Us series may have nailed the casting, with the two leads certainly looking comfortable in their alter egos from what we’ve seen in the trailer.

Playing Joel will be The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal, who is rumoured to have beaten competition for the role from Game of Thrones co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Oscar darling Mahershala Ali.

As for Ellie, the hugely important character will be portrayed by Bella Ramsey, another Thrones cast member who memorably played Lyanna Mormont in the later seasons.

The characters were voiced by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson in the video game.

In April 2021, former Ghost Rider actor Gabriel Luna was added to the cast as Tommy, who is the younger brother of Pascal’s Joel and a jaded former soldier.

Meanwhile, in a move that should be pleasing to purists, The Last of Us video game actor Merle Dandridge (The Flight Attendant) will return for this adaptation as Marlene, the head of a scrappy resistance fighting a harsh military regime.

Another familiar face from the game will also feature here, with Jeffrey Pierce cast as quarantine zone rebel Perry (although longtime fans will know him as the voice of Tommy in the original Playstation title).

Rounding out the cast is Nico Parker (Dumbo) as Joel’s daughter Sarah and Anna Torv (Mindhunter) as smuggler Tess, while Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus) and Nick Offerman (Pam and Tommy) are survivalists Frank and Bill.

Beanpole director Kantemir Balagov is on board to direct the pilot, with later episodes to be helmed by celebrated filmmakers Jasmila Žbanić and Ali Abbasi, as well as The Umbrella Academy’s Jeremy Webb and Dead to Me’s Liza Johnson.

The scripts will be penned by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, the latter of whom also worked on the game as writer and creative director, so his presence should be reassuring for fans.

The series was first announced as a collaboration between Mazin and his Chernobyl filmmaker Johan Renck, but the latter was forced to drop out at the start of 2021 due to a scheduling conflict.

What is The Last of Us about?

The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have been infected by a kind of fungus that turns them into savage, zombie-like creatures.

We follow Joel, a man who has endured terrible loss, who is tasked with safely escorting a teenage girl named Ellie out of an oppressive quarantine camp and across the United States.

Needless to say, it will not be an easy trip and with dangers lurking around every corner the unlikely team will start to depend on each other more than they ever thought possible.

Writer Neil Druckmann, who has been closely involved in both the video game and television adaptation, revealed that the 10-episode first season will adapt the original Playstation title in full – albeit, with some changes.

“Things sometimes stay pretty close,” he told IGN. “It’s funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium.”

Druckmann went on to explain that there will naturally be less action in the television show than there was in the game, partly as the lack of interactivity means there is no need to train players on the mechanics of shooting a gun and so on.

“HBO’s been great in pushing us to move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character,” he added. Some of my favourite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them.”

Is there a trailer for The Last of Us?

Yes! A trailer dropped on Monday 26th September, teasing what’s to come for Joel and Ellie.

There’s no official release date for The Last of Us just yet, but the teaser trailer confirmed it would arrive in 2023.

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Stevie Flavio
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