A Last of Us HBO Show Might Seem Redundant, But There Are Gaps Left to Fill

We only saw very short glimpses of Joel and Ellie's story.

Eight months after the idea was spoken into the world, HBO has officially ordered a television series based on The Last of Us.

As previously announced, the show will be co-written by Craig Mazin (known for his work on Chernobyl) and Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, who directed and co-wrote both The Last of Us and its sequel The Last of Us Part II, among saying and doing other things. Both Mazin and Druckmann will executive produce alongside Carolyn Strauss, who has done work on Chernobyl and Game of Thrones, as well as Naughty Dog President Evan Wells and PlayStation Productions’ Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan. Sony Pictures Television. PlayStation Productions, Word Games, and Naughty Dog will all be credited as producers of the show.

“Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own,” said HBO Executive Vice President Orsi alongside the announcement. “With them at the helm alongside the incomparable Carolyn Strauss, this series is sure to resonate with both die-hard fans of ‘The Last of Us’ games and newcomers to this genre-defining saga. We’re delighted to partner with Naughty Dog, Word Games, Sony and PlayStation to adapt this epic, powerfully immersive story.”

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From the sound of it, the show is going to be more or less a retread of the story of the original Last of Us game, following Joel and Ellie’s journey from Boston to Salt Lake City in an effort to find a cure for the cordyceps fungus that has infected and wiped out large swaths of humanity. However, given that the game has both several gameplay segments that don’t translate to a TV show, as well as a few blind spots and flash forwards that were never shown, there is a bit to work with to differentiate it from the source material. The Last of Us is divided by seasons as Joel and Ellie travel across the country, and each time it transitions from one to another, it’s been weeks or months since we last saw them, so there’s plenty new the show could offer to keep itself fresh for fans of the game. While The Last of Us: Left Behind did fill the gaps between fall and winter, one still has to wonder about all the time the pair spent together when we weren’t in control.

Is it really necessary though? In theory, no, as much of the plot of the first Last of Us is largely reliant on cutscenes and could be just watched through a YouTube video or something. However, since Sony doesn’t stand to make a profit from YouTube videos that show off the cutscenes of the story, it makes sense from a business standpoint for everyone involved to reverse engineer The Last of Us into something that is made for people who want to experience the story but don’t want to play the games.

The Last of Us Part II would be a little trickier, however, as the sequel plays with changing perspectives as a storytelling device enhanced by making you play as other characters. But if the show is a success then it’s not out of the question for a second season following Ellie’s revenge tour of Seattle to follow in a couple years.

For more on The Last of Us, check out Fanbyte’s spoilercast on The Last of Us Part II.