HBO’s The Last of Us: Cast, Plot, Trailer, and Everything We Know So Far

HBO’s The Last of Us: Cast, Plot, Trailer, and Everything We Know So Far

HBO’s The Last of Us is finally coming…

Nine years after first announcing that they’d be making a movie out of the 2013 video game The Last of Us, and seven since those plans collapsed, Sony is now bringing the sneaky and scary survival horror game to HBO in January 2023, with some familiar names helping out.

Based on the hugely popular PlayStation game of the same name, The Last of Us is an upcoming post-apocalyptic drama that follows the unlikely duo of Joel and Ellie, a smuggler and a young girl who set off on a journey across the United States that’s been transformed in the wake of a pandemic which has seen vast swathes of the population transformed into horrifying monsters by an infection caused by the Cordyceps fungus.

HBO's The Last of Us

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Trailer for HBO’s The Last of Us

On December 3, we were finally treated to the full trailer for The Last of Us. This fresh look at the series shows Joel and Ellie at many points in their journey across the States and features characters and tense moments that fans of the game will surely recognize, and ends with a terrifying look at a Bloater, one of the franchise’s most formidable foes. 

HBO’s The Last of Us: The Plot

What is the video game about?

In The Last of Us, tough-guy survivor Joel Miller is hired to escort a teenager named Ellie through the wasteland and to some doctors who believe that Ellie may be the cure to the plague. As they make their way from what used to be Boston to what’s left of Salt Lake City, they run into the usual post-apocalyptic tropes, including roving groups of infected, a couple of cannibals, some huge jerks, and a giraffe who’s escaped from a zoo and is getting out while the getting is good.

HBO's The Last of Us

What will be the series about?

The series will span a cool 9 episodes and will follow the first game, at least initially. This means we can easily assume the story will follow the award-winning video game’s narrative. It’s set in the 2030s. Joel, a smuggler who has seen some s**t, gets Ellie out of a quarantine zone for their journey. They must depend upon each other for survival as they travel from east to west. By all accounts, it’s an intense and emotional story, so brace yourself.

The Last of Us takes place twenty years later in a post-apocalyptic world infested with an invasive fungus that has wiped off a substantial part of the world’s population. Joel Miller, the series’ protagonist, strives to survive by stealing, smuggling, and engaging in other life-threatening dealings while affiliated with a quarantine zone in Boston — one of the few safe areas under government supervision.

When persuaded to escort a girl named Ellie to the Fireflies, a revolutionary militia group, they find themselves in a series of brutal and heartbreaking situations — all while clinging to the little hope they have left. While the premise may sound very similar to the first The Last of Us game, creator Neil Druckmann revealed in an interview with IGN how it varies in certain ways from the video game. He stated:

“Things sometimes stay pretty close. 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. So that’s something that’s been really different, and HBO’s been great in pushing us to move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character. Some of my favorite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them.”

Who’s Who in HBO’s The Last of Us?

HBO has already cast the two lead roles of Ellie and Joel.

Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) is Ellie. Ellie is a 14-year-old girl who has only ever known life under martial law in the quarantine zone. She’s the adventurous and bold child Joel and Tess are tasked with smuggling to a faction of humans who operate independently of the last vestiges of the USA called The Fireflys. Starting with Ellie might feel like burying the lead, but Neil Druckman fought for her place on the cover of the game stating, “this is her story.” His involvement with the show suggests that won’t change much from Playstation to television. She was magnificently voiced and captured by Ashley Johnson in both games, giving Ramsey large shoes to fill as a young performer. But Ramsey won’t be the only cast member inhabiting a revered role.

HBO's The Last of Us

Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) is Joel. He reunites with fellow Game of Thrones alumnus Bella Ramsey, though they never shared screen time together, for The Last of Us series. Joel is a former highwayman, a former father, a brother, and a badass mover in and around the Boston quarantine zone. He’s hired by Marlene, a contact with a foot in The Fireflys and the quarantine zone, to take Ellie to a rendezvous point where they’ll hand her over to The Fireflys. He was embodied in a legendary performance by Troy Baker in the games. With Joel and Ellie making one of the most beloved duos in gaming, even Pascal has high marks to meet. An early look at the lead characters in costume gives a glimpse of the rendered world made real.

Apart from these two roles, the other cast members include Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller, Nick Offerman as Bill, Merle Dandridge as Marlene, Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, Anna Torv as Tess, Murray Bartlett as Frank, Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, and many more. 

HBO’s The Last of Us: Release Date

The Last of Us will be released on January 15, 2023, on HBO max.

How Many Episodes of The Last of Us Will There Be?

HBO’s The Last of Us series will release on January 15, 2023.

The first season will be comprised of nine episodes of unspecified length. The show is already charted to be among the most expensive TV shows ever made. Early reports estimate the budget will top $10 million per episode. It’s fitting that the show would share cast members with one of TV’s other most expensive series, Game of Thrones.

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