HBO confirms The Last of Us TV show release date following HBO Max leak

Joel and Ellie walking in The Last of Us TV show
(Image credit: HBO)

HBO has officially set the release date for its upcoming The Last of Us TV show.

The nine-episode first season of the highly-anticipated video game adaptation will begin streaming on HBO Max on Sunday, January 15, 2023. As with other HBO-produced shows, UK viewers will be able to watch the series’ debut in the early hours of Monday, January 16, 2023 on Sky Atlantic and Now. 

Confirmation of The Last of Us TV show’s release date comes by way of HBO itself, which inadvertently revealed the news a day previously through a rogue description in the series’ HBO Max preview listing.

A big-budget adaptation of developer Naughty Dog’s seminal PlayStation title – which, incidentally, sits as our top pick for the best video games of the 2010s – HBO’s The Last of Us TV show will also include elements of its sequel, The Last of Us 2, and occasionally “deviate greatly” from the source material, showrunner Neil Druckmann has said.   

HBO's official synopsis for the series reads as follows: "[The Last of Us] 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 Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal, is playing Joel in the show, with fellow Game of Thrones alumnus Bella Ramsey in tow as Ellie. Merle Dandridge, Nick Offerman, Gabriel Luna, Storm Reid, Anna Torv, and Nico Parker have all been confirmed to feature, too. Meanwhile, The Last of Us’ original voice actors, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who voice Joel and Ellie, will also be appearing in some capacity. 

The Last Of Us

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, respectively (Image credit: HBO)

There's been no confirmation of how many seasons HBO is planning for the series just yet. However, Baker has provided a vague window of "three, four seasons" being necessary to match the story beats of the game at an appropriate pace – rather than constraining the story to a single, rushed season.

“I think that, episodically, you can far more effectively tell this story, because trying to condense that experience of 16 hours into [a few] hours is impossible… it goes past the point of distillation, into reduction," Baker said in an interview with GameSpot. "I think being able to do this episodically and go, ‘We’ll do this for say, three or four seasons’ and be able to almost 1:1 tell [the story of the game] presents a great opportunity for more people to experience it."

HBO has made passing reference to "future seasons" beyond an initial first season, though any continuations are likely to depend on the success of season one. In any case, we’ve rounded up all you need to know about The Last of Us TV show on a dedicated page, which we’ll be updating as we approach the series' debut on January 15. 

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.