The series, which was first announced in March 2020, is based on Naughty Dog's hugely successful 2013 videogame and entered production in the middle of summer 2021. Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is overseeing the show for HBO, with Pedro Pascal (Joel), Bella Ramsey (Ellie) and Gabriel Luna (Tommy) among the key cast.
Early reports had suggested that the show could be arriving this year, with Ramsey posting an Instagram story giving The Last of Us a 2022 release date. However, speaking to Deadline, HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys revealed that The Last of Us TV series wouldn't debut until 2023 at the very earliest.
Asked when The Last Of Us will hit screens, Bloys said: "It’s not going to air in 2022 — they are still shooting in Canada. I imagine you will see it in 2023."
He did have some more positive news, revealing that the studio were delighted with early results. "I have seen some early episodes and I’m very excited," he added. "Craig did Chernobyl for us, he is a fantastic writer and director. What I’ve seen looks amazing, so I’m excited for it, but it will not be in 2022.”
With a budget of over $155 million dollars, the production has drawn comparisons with Game Of Thrones, but Bloys was quick to dismiss them. "There is no next Game of Thrones," Bloys suggested. "I’ve been here long enough that I’ve been through, what’s the next Sopranos, what’s next Game of Thrones, now what’s next Succession. There is no next Game of Thrones.”
Analysis: What can viewers expect from The Last of Us?
The Last Of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed by a deadly virus.
We follow Pascal's Joel, a veteran survivor who is hired to smuggle Ramsey's Ellie out of an oppressive quarantine zone to the Fireflies, an organization who are searching for a cure for the virus. Together the pair must travel across America, depending on each other for survival as they go.
With Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann on board, it's likely that The Last of Us' TV adaptation will follow the events of the 2013 game as closely as possible. There will, though, be some plot divergences, with Druckmann telling the Script Apart podcast: “Our approach for The Last of Us was ‘Let’s make it as an indie film'. Let’s approach it as an indie film team, the way it’s shot, the way how small and intimate it feels. And with the show we get to lean into that even more because we don’t have to have as many action sequences as we do in the game.”
Meanwhile, Pascal believes that HBO's adaptation will live up to the beloved video game franchise. Speaking to German magazine Neelix (thanks to Dualshockers for spotting this), The Mandalorian star said: "I think the cinematic adaptation can more than live up to the original game. I have absolutely no doubts that we won’t disappoint fans of the game or new viewers alike." Here's hoping he's right.
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Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…
- Tom PowerSenior Entertainment Reporter