HBO reveals bleak, brilliant first trailer for The Last of Us show

The first trailer for The Last of Us TV series has landed (appropriately released on on The Last of Us Day). Starring Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie, the teaser sticks closely to Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic classic while also sprinkling on some of that prestigious HBO magic.

Backed by Hank Williams' 'Lone and Forsaken', the trailer runs through what to expect from the series. Namely, everything is bleak: despair is written across the survivors' faces, their civilization crumbled down due to the horror-inducing clickers – it all meshes together for a game-accurate take that should appease long-term fans and newcomers alike. And, yes, that is a reference to the Left Behind DLC, which sees Ellie and her best friend Riley in the early days of the outbreak.

A synopsis previously released by HBO reads: "The story takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival."

The Last of Us TV show co-writer Craig Mazin (who brought the critically acclaimed Chernobyl to life on HBO in 2019) stated in an interview with the BBC (opens in new tab) that the adaptation’s story aims to "enhance" the source material. "In this case, I’m doing it with [Neil Druckmann], and so the changes that we're making are designed to fill things out and expand, not to undo, but rather to enhance," Mazin said at the time.

Much of the complete cast for The Last of Us has already been announced. Alongside Pascal and Ramsey is Gabriel Luna, who will be playing Joel’s brother Tommy. They’ll be joined by Merle Dandridge, who reprises her role as Marlene from the first game. Anna Torv will play Tess; Nick Offerman is portraying Bill; Nico Parker is playing Joel’s daughter Sarah, while Joel and Ellie’s game actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson will also appear in undisclosed roles.

The Last of Us is set for release on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK in 2023.

If The Last of Us HBO series trailer and the recent The Last of Us Part 1 remake has got you in a clicker-killing mood, be sure to check out more games like The Last of Us. Plus, check out all the major new TV shows that are coming your way in the next 12 months.

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.