The Last of Us TV show's first image will make fans very happy

A piece of official artwork for Naughty Dog's The Last of Us game
(Image credit: Naughty Dog/PlayStation Studios)

HBO has revealed the first official image of its TV adaptation of The Last of Us – and it's the nostalgia-inducing photograph we didn't know we needed.

Released as part of The Last of Us Day celebrations, the picture gives us our first proper look at Pedro Pascal's Joel and Bella Ramsey's Ellie.

The photograph doesn't show the pair's faces as it's taken from behind. However, it does confirm that HBO's take on the award-winning video game will be as authentic as possible. That's because the duo are wearing clothes (and rucksacks) that are almost identical to those that their game counterparts own.

Check out the official image via HBO's tweet below:

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The photograph doesn't give much else away, but it's intriguing that Joel and Ellie are looking out onto the wreckage of a downed plane. We'll dive into this more below, though, as it could indicate where the show's story will go.

The Last of Us TV show is currently being filmed in Alberta, Canada, but it could be a while before we see the series land on HBO. Per the Directors Guild of Canada's website, principal photography isn't due to end until June 2022. So it sounds like we could be in for a long wait for The Last of Us to appear on our screens.

HBO's adaptation will also star Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Merle Dandridge as Marlene, Jeffrey Pierce as Perry and Anna Torv as Tess. 

The series, which is being written by Chernobyl's Craig Mazin alongside Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann, is expected to arrive sometime next year. With filming not likely to finish for another nine months, though, don't expect it to arrive until late 2022 at the earliest.

Analysis: What's with the plane wreckage in The Last of Us TV show?

Elli playing the guitar under a tree in The Last of Us 2

(Image credit: Sony/Naughty Dog)

The most interesting part of The Last of Us' first image is the downed plane that Joel and Ellie are looking out onto. 

In Naughty Dog's first game, which the TV show is based on, there aren't any missions or story threads that are set inside (or around) a plane wreckage.

We already knew that The Last of Us TV series would expand on the game's narrative, as Mazin told the BBC in August, and this teaser image appears to confirm that the show will widen, and even diverge from, the plot of The Last Of Us' video game.

It's unclear if this setting will be a key location in one of the show's episodes: it's possible that Joel and Ellie are simply bypassing it, or that they check it out for supplies. If the downed plane proves to be more useful than somewhere to gather resources, though, it might be a key location for one episode.

Joel and Ellie may decide to hunker down inside the wreckage for the night, which would set the scene for a heart-to-heart chat. 

Alternatively, we could see the exact moment where Joel decides to teach Ellie how to play the guitar. Speaking to IGN at SXSW 2021, Druckmann revealed that the show's scripts will "deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium" on occasion.

Joel doesn't teach Ellie how to play guitar in the first game, but could that be altered in the TV series? It would be a nice callback to The Last of Us games while also diverging slightly from the first title's story.

Of course, we may not even see a plane wreckage in the final product – placing one in the background may have just been used to set the scene for the image. Either way, we'll find out when an official trailer for The Last of Us finally arrives, or when the show is eventually released.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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