One of the most acclaimed games of the 21st century is coming to TV. On December 4, HBO released the full trailer for “The Last of Us,” the upcoming sci-fi drama series.
“Game of Thrones” stars Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian”) and Bella Ramsey (“Catherine Called Birdy”) lead the series as Joel and Ellie, the main player characters of the original 2013 video game. Set in a post-apocalyptic United States where the world has been ravaged by an outbreak of zombie-like hosts mutated by a bizarre fungus, the story follows Joel, a smuggler working in Boston, as he is tasked with protecting 14-year-old Ellie on a trip across the country. Bitter after the death of his young daughter, Joel slowly grows protective of his new charge, and his morals are tested as he attempts to keep her safe across their difficult journey.
Set to a slowed-down version of A-ha’s ’80s synth-pop classic “Take On Me,” the trailer features many locales, characters, and moments from the original games and ends with a look at the show’s version of the infected fungi monsters.
Merle Dandridge, who played the character of Marlene in the original video games, reprises her role in the series. Other recurring and guest actors include Anna Torv, Gabriel Luna, Murray Bartlett, Melanie Lynskey, Nick Offerman, Storm Reid, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Nico Parker, and Keivonn Woodard. In addition, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker, who played Ellie and Joel in the original games, will reportedly appear in the series in secret roles.
Published by Naughty Dog for the Playstation 3, the original “Last of Us” received critical acclaim upon release, with particular praise for its narrative and the performances of its voice and motion capture actors. It went on to sell 1.3 million copies in its first week and over 17 million by 2018. Its sequel, “The Last of Us Part II,” was published in 2020 to similar critical acclaim, although its storyline proved divisive among some fans of the original.
Neil Druckmann, the creator and director of the original video games, developed the series for television with Craig Mazin, the creator of the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries “Chernobyl,” and the two wrote the nine-episode first season. They also executive produce the series with Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam. Naughty Dog produces the series with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Word Games, and The Mighty Mint.
“The Last of Us” premieres on HBO January 15. Watch the full trailer below.