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The Last of Us HBO series writer discusses why it "needs" to be a show and not a movie

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us HBO series writer Craig Mazin has explained why we’re getting a TV show adaptation of Naughty Dog’s PlayStation classic instead of the Sony movie that was previously in development.

“It was going to be a movie for a long time,” Mazin said on his Scriptnotes podcast while discussing the project, which was first announced by Sony back in 2014 and has since morphed into HBO show. Mazin, who described The Last of Us as his “favourite video game,” had a different train of thought when sitting down with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann.

“My feeling was ‘you can’t make a movie out of this, it has to be a show. It needs length.’ It’s about the development of a relationship over a long journey, so it has to be a television show – and that’s that, that’s the way I see it. Happily, Neil agreed and HBO was delighted. So, here we are.”

So, instead of a one-and-done movie, we’re getting a multi-part series from the man who wrote Chernobyl. Not too shabby. Just don’t expect production to start on it until The Last of Us 2 is let out into the world.

Mazin explained: “We can’t start on it right away because they’re still finishing up the second game. We’ve been talking about it for months, little plans and things. We’re going to dig in in full, full earnest once they wrap up their final work on the sequel. Hopefully more exciting news to come on that front ‘cos it’s something we’re both motivated to see on TV.”

We’ll possibly hear more after May on the movie-turned-series – that is, if The Last of Us 2 hasn’t completely broken us by that point.

Find out the internet's top picks for Joel and Ellie with our Last of Us HBO series fan-casting round up.

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.