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The Last of Us HBO series: Everything we know so far

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us HBO series has been announced. While the adaptation of Naughty Dog’s survival adventure has undergone a few forms since it was first announced as a movie way back in 2014, it’s now a TV show in the capable hands of Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin.

But what else do we know? Despite The Last of Us being in its infancy in terms of the creative process, there are still some things you might not be aware outside of the original announcement.

For one thing, a handful of characters have already been confirmed, plus we also now have a timeframe for when we’ll hear more about The Last of Us HBO series. On top of that, a certain composer has also joined the project, which is hugely exciting news. So, let’s rundown everything we know so far.

First, the essentials: The Last of Us is coming to HBO, but there’s no release date yet; it’s simply coming at an unannounced point in future. It will be brought to life by Neil Druckmann, writer of the original game, and Chernobyl's Craig Mazin.

The Last of Us HBO series story: will it adapt both games?

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter in early March, the series will “cover the events of the original game… with the possibility of additional content based on the forthcoming game sequel [The Last of Us 2].”

A separate report from the publication indicates that “future seasons” are a possibility, meaning this is unlikely to be a Chernobyl-style miniseries but instead one that will stretch out over several years. The mention of sequel story beats also making their way into the HBO series should also whet the appetite of many with the game due out in mere months.

The Last of Us cast: every confirmed character so far

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

As for the characters involved, it’s a very safe bet that Joel will feature, while Ellie was confirmed by Druckmann in a tweet posted on International Women’s Day on March 8. 

Joining her will be Ellie’s Left Behind girlfriend, Riley, as well as Tess, Marlene, Maria, and a redacted character – which could be Anna, the unseen mother of Ellie who died before the events of the first game.

Mazin also assuaged fears that characters will not change from their game counterparts by stating that Ellie will remain LGBTQ.

Alongside the cast of characters is the man – quite literally – pulling the strings on the soundtrack. Gustavo Santaolalla will be scoring the HBO series, just as he did with the first two games.

Several of the game's community have even made their case for The Last of Us HBO cast members in the absence of official announcements at this early stage. Among the fan-casting favourites are Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Hugh Jackman, and Gerard Butler as Joel, with Kaitlyn Dever, Sophie Lillis, and Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink being suggested for Ellie.

The Last of Us movie, meanwhile, has reportedly been scrapped in favour of the HBO series. The Sam Raimi-produced film had been in limbo for quite some time, and it was finally put out of misery with news of the TV show being commissioned.

Speaking of which, Mazin has spoken at length about the TV show for the first time, musing on why it needed to be a TV show. “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.”

No The Last of Us HBO series release date (yet), but here's when things will get moving

(Image credit: Sony)

What next? Expect radio silence for a while. Mazin revealed that official work on The Last of Us HBO series wouldn’t be going ahead until after Part 2’s PS4 release in May. After that, all systems are go: “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,” Mazin said.

Keep up with everything else coming to your screens in 2020 and beyond with our guide to all new TV shows.

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).