It's already being called the greatest video game adaptation of all time - so it's safe to say The Last of Us is living up to expectations.

Advertisement

The HBO drama, based on the wildly popular games of the same name, stars The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Game of Thrones star Bella Ramsey (Ellie), and takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where hordes of humans have been infected with a virus that turns them into deadly zombie-like creatures.

Joel is tasked with transporting Ellie across the US but with danger lurking around every corner, it's all they can do to keep from being infected.

Fans have already noticed plenty of similarities to the game, and even shot-for-shot moments, but the showrunners also opened up to RadioTimes.com and other press about how they've deviated from the initial story.

Showrunner Neil Druckmann pointed out: "I think in the past, the mistake that some adaptations make when they come from video games to a more passive medium is to hang on to the action and the superficial things and the things that player is doing. And those work magnificently as a game. And they kind of fall flat in this other medium."

Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams and Anna Torv as Theresa 'Tess' Servopoulos in The Last of Us
Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams and Anna Torv as Theresa 'Tess' Servopoulos in The Last of Us. HBO/Warner Media

The Last of Us is also in the running to be one of the most expensive shows ever made, with each episode reportedly costing more than $10 million.

Meanwhile, Pascal and Ramsey are joined by an epic ensemble including Nick Offerman (Bill), Gabriel Luna (Tommy), Anna Torv (Tess) and Nico Parker (Sarah).

So, what else can we expect from the nine-part series and who else is in it? Read on to find out.

The Last of Us TV show UK release date

The Last of Us premiered in the UK on Monday 16th January 2023.

Episode 2, titled Infected, will air on 23rd January at 2am GMT.

The series is being shown on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK and airs at 2am GMT before being repeated in the evening on the same day.

Sky announced on Wednesday 2nd November 2022: "Superfans of The Last of Us will not miss out on the global excitement with each instalment available at the same time as the US premiere each week at 2am and on demand thereafter."

According to the Director's Guild of Canada, The Last of Us production spanned an 11-month shoot in Calgary, which began in July 2021 and concluded in June 2022 [via CBC].

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us. HBO/Sky

Damian Petti, president of union branch IATSE 212, told CTV News that the budget of the show "well exceeds the eight figure per episode mark", suggesting a minimum spend of more than $100 million across the first season's nine chapters.

Of that money, Variety reported that $600,000 per episode (for a total of $6 million) is going to lead actor Pascal, making him one of the top paid actors in television.

Is there a trailer for The Last of Us?

The show's official full-length trailer arrived on Saturday 3rd December, teasing new characters and harrowing monsters. Watch it below.

Who stars in The Last Of Us

The following actors have been confirmed or reported to appear in the the HBO series The Last of Us.

  • Pedro Pascal as Joel
  • Bella Ramsey as Ellie
  • Gabriel Luna as Tommy
  • Merle Danbridge as Marlene
  • Anna Torv as Tess
  • Nico Parker as Sarah
  • Murray Bartlett as Frank
  • Nick Offerman as Bill
  • Storm Reid as Riley Abel
  • Jeffrey Pierce as Perry
  • Lamar Johnson as Henry
  • Keivonn Woodard as Sam
  • Graham Greene as Marlon
  • Elaine Miles as Florence
  • Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen

Taking on the roles of Joel and Ellie is a daunting task as so many people are already heavily invested in these characters. However, it seems that the team behind The Last of Us series have nailed the casting.

Playing Joel will be The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal, who is rumoured to have beaten competition for the role from Game of Thrones co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Oscar darling Mahershala Ali.

He told RadioTimes.com and other press recently of The Mandalorian and The Last of Us: "I think that the stories inspire one another, and they inspire me, and their form and their execution is so different.

"For me, it's like, I couldn't think of a better way to double dip. So I'm very lucky, I'll probably never get the chance again."

As for Ellie, the hugely important character is portrayed by Bella Ramsey, another Thrones cast member who memorably played Lyanna Mormont in the later seasons.

The characters were voiced by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson in the video game.

Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller in The Last of Us
Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller in The Last of Us. Shane Harvey/HBO

In April 2021, former Ghost Rider actor Gabriel Luna was added to the cast as Tommy, who is the younger brother of Pascal's Joel and a jaded former soldier.

Meanwhile, in a move that should be pleasing to purists, The Last of Us video game actor Merle Dandridge (The Flight Attendant) returns for this adaptation as Marlene, the head of a scrappy resistance fighting a harsh military regime.

Another familiar face from the game also features here, with Jeffrey Pierce cast as quarantine zone rebel Perry (although longtime fans will know him as the voice of Tommy in the original PlayStation title).

More like this
Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us.
Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us. Sky Atlantic/NOW/HBO

Rounding out the cast is Nico Parker (Dumbo) as Joel's daughter Sarah and Anna Torv (Mindhunter) as smuggler Tess, while Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus) and Nick Offerman (Pam and Tommy) are survivalists Frank and Bill.

Beanpole director Kantemir Balagov is on board to direct the pilot, with later episodes to be helmed by celebrated filmmakers Jasmila Žbanić and Ali Abbasi, as well as The Umbrella Academy's Jeremy Webb and Dead to Me's Liza Johnson.

The scripts were penned by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, the latter of whom also worked on the game as writer and creative director, so his presence should be reassuring for fans.

The series was first announced as a collaboration between Mazin and his Chernobyl filmmaker Johan Renck, but the latter was forced to drop out at the start of 2021 due to a scheduling conflict.

What is The Last of Us about?

The Last of Us
The Last of Us. HBO

The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have been infected by a kind of fungus that turns them into savage, zombie-like creatures.

We follow Joel, a man who has endured terrible loss, who is tasked with safely escorting a teenage girl named Ellie out of an oppressive quarantine camp and across the United States.

Needless to say, it will not be an easy trip and with dangers lurking around every corner the unlikely team will start to depend on each other more than they ever thought possible.

Writer Neil Druckmann, who has been closely involved in both the video game and television adaptation, revealed that the nine-episode first season will adapt the original PlayStation title in full – albeit, with some changes.

A close-up of Joel and Ellie in the photo mode
Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us Part 1. Naughty Dog

"Things sometimes stay pretty close," he told IGN. "It’s funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium."

Druckmann went on to explain that there will naturally be less action in the television show than there was in the game, partly as the lack of interactivity means there is no need to train players on the mechanics of shooting a gun and so on.

"HBO’s been great in pushing us to move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character," he added. Some of my favourite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them.”

The Last of Us is exclusively available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW – find out more about how to sign up for Sky TV.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on this week.

Advertisement

Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home — subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement