‘The Last of Us’ teaser promises potential for series adaptation

By Marilyn MacLaren, Assistant Buzz Editor

“The Last of Us” is a new drama series on HBO Max set to premiere Jan. 15. The official teaser for the show was released, with many of the shots drawn directly from the video game this series will be based off of. The story will focus on Joel Miller, played by Pedro Pascal, as the hardened smuggler and survivor responsible for escorting a young teenage girl named Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey, across the country.

The show will be based off of “The Last of Us,” a survival horror game of the same name. The series reimagines the zombie apocalypse genre, balancing typical video game and action elements with an emotionally driven plot line centered around a developing father and daughter dynamic. 

The two main characters, Joel and Ellie, portrayed by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson respectively, journey across the United States in order to transport Ellie safely to a Firefly base, a revolutionary militia group broken off from the new government regime. Ellie, who proves to be immune to the virus after being bitten, is expected to undergo surgery at the Firefly base, where they will extract a cure to save the rest of humanity.

The game takes a different approach to well-known apocalypse horror themes, as seen in “The Walking Dead” or “28 Days Later,” by inventing a viral infection that transforms people into zombies rather than having them rise from the dead. Along the way, the game is filled with stunning environments, interactive storytelling and touching moments that go beyond the typical violence and add more emotional depth. 

The game has won dozens of awards for its story, visual art and character performances, including the BAFTA Games Award for Best Game and the Spike VGX Award for Best PlayStation Game. The Remastered versions, as well as the recent sequel “The Last of Us: Part II,” were also met with high praise, garnering enough popularity which has culminated into this new television adaptation.

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The cast will also include Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller, who the duo run into on their journey, as well as Anna Torv as smuggling partner Tess who helps get Ellie safely to the Fireflies. The series also lists Nico Parker as Sarah Miller, Joel’s late daughter who passed away during the early stages of the outbreak, transforming Joel into the hardened character the player finds in the game.  

The small glimpses of the show featured in the teaser are almost identical to certain scenes and graphics within the original video game. Beautiful landscape shots coupled with the high-stake tensions capture the same atmosphere the game intended.

With small details, such as men painting over the controversial symbol of the Fireflies and a brief glimpse at one of the zombie antagonists known as a Clicker, devoted fans reconsidered any reluctance they might have over the adaptation. 

The series will be written and produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, with the latter serving as the creative director for “The Last of Us” franchise through the video game developer Naughty Dog. Considering Druckmann is directly involved with the adaptation, it can be safe to assume that he will have more creative control over where the series will go, keeping it true to its original source.

If the trailer promises anything for fans of the franchise, there is a lot of potential for the series to expand the storytelling elements of the original game, giving more life to characters and action scenes in ways the game couldn’t. This series provides an opportunity for the franchise to be explored through a new medium, revisiting the game for old audiences and introducing it to new ones. 


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