Starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, it is an adaption of the hit video game series. It follows the characters of Joel and Ellie, 20 years after a fungal pandemic brings the end of society as we know it.
Originally released in 2013, The Last of Us was hailed by many critics for having one of the best stories in gaming and became a bestseller. Naughty Dog, the studio behind the game, have announced that as of December 2022, the game and its sequel have sold 37 million copies.
After years in development hell, HBO have finally managed to translate the game to the small screen - Hollywood had previously attempted to turn it into a film, but adaptions never managed to get off the ground. The series is showrun by Neil Druckmann, creator of the games, and Craig Maizin, the writer and director of the Emmy-winning Chernobyl.
Fans who are tuning in to experience the story of The Last of Us for the first time, might be wondering if the series has changed much from the games. We will spoil a major plot point from the first episode of the HBO show below, don’t read before finishing When You’re Lost in the Darkness - you’ve been warned!
Here is all you need to know:
What is The Last of Us about?
On its website, HBO says: “The series 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 the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”
Did SPOILER die in The Last of Us games?
In case you didn’t see the spoiler warning above, here is a spoiler warning for the second time in the article. This is your final alert, turn back now. Go and watch the first episode and then come back to read!
The show spends the early part of the pilot focusing on the character of Sarah, played by Nico Parker, who is the daughter of Joel (Pedro Pascal). It follows her in the hours before the outbreak of the fungal infection, called Cordyceps, in Austin, Texas, which causes society to collapse.
However when the outbreak finally arrives, Sarah, Joel and Tommy (Gabirel Luna) are caught up in the chaos. After a desperate bid to escape, Sarah is shot and killed by a soldier - before the show jumps 20 years into the future.
It is a bleak start to the series - and it was in fact the same way that the video game started, with players taking control of Sarah in the initial moments of the game.
What has been changed from the game?
HBO’s adaption of The Last of Us is a faithful one for the most part, although there have been adaptions to the story as part of the translation from video game to television. We have a full breakdown of the changes between the show and the original.
One of the biggest changes is the removal of spores, which was a major way the infection spread in PlayStation version of The Last of Us. Craig Mazin, the creator of the Chernobyl show and co-showrunner on The Last of Us, confirmed in a recent round of interviews that the show would not feature spore scenes.
Craig explained: “In the world that we’re creating [with the show], if we put spores in the air, it would be pretty clear that they would spread around everywhere and everybody would have to wear a mask all the time and probably everybody would be completely infected by that point.
“So, we challenged ourselves to come up with an interesting new way for the fungus to spread but mostly I think we just connected with the soul and spirit of the game.”