The Last of Us TV show was almost an animated series, reveals star

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us on HBO could have looked very different, according to one of its stars.  Jeffrey Pierce, who played Tommy in the games and Perry in the HBO show, shared the insight in a recent interview.

"There have been a couple of different iterations over time," he told The Direct (opens in new tab). "There was a movie at one point. There was a motion-capture cinematic animated series at one point. And both of those are things that I thought, ‘I got a pretty good shot at being involved to some degree.'"

There were several proposed adaptations before the HBO show, including a canceled animated short film to serve as a "previously on" for The Last of Us Part 2 game, as well as a feature film as well. However, we didn’t know the idea for a motion-capture animated series was floated as well.

Speaking about how they decided on making the HBO show, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckman broke down the process on the official podcast (opens in new tab). "Our mutual friend for all of us, Shannon Woodward, while working on The Last of Us Part 2 where she was a cast member, she made an introduction for me and Craig [Mazin, co-showrunner]," he explained. "At the time I’d already had one failed version of trying to adapt this into a movie where it was just too big for a movie script. No matter how hard I tried, I could not crack it."

Another iteration of The Last of Us could have also starred Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles, who previously shared that he was "pushing hard" for the role of Joel.

"I was really pushing hard, I don't think I was really in the mix or even had a shot at it, but for Pedro Pascal's role in The Last of Us," he said at a Supernatural panel at Nashcon 2022. "That was really high up on my radar."

Check out our The Last of Us release schedule to make sure you don’t miss an episode. For more on the series, here’s our breakdown of the main changes from the game and an early clue we spotted of the Cordyceps infection in episode one.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.