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Joel and Ellie make their live-action debut in the first snippets of teaser footage from HBO's hotly-anticipated adaptation of The Last of Us video game franchise. Our extremely brief look at the new series (finally hitting HBO and HBO Max next year) was spliced into a mega-trailer for the premium cable network's upcoming titles between late 2022 and 2023. New seasons of His Dark Materials, Avenue 5, Titans, Doom Patrol, and Our Flag Means Death are also on the genre docket and featured in the video.
Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) headline The Last of Us as the aforementioned pair of post-apocalyptic survivors — Joel and Ellie — who traverse the United States 20 years after a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus led to the collapse of civilization. Ellie's DNA may hold the key to curing the zombie-like infection, but first, Joel must smuggle her out of an oppressive quarantine zone. Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Pierce, and Anna Torv round out the ensemble cast. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker — who voiced Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us and its direct sequel — are also set to make appearances.
Despite its brevity, the sneak peek does hint at the show's generous production budget and bleak atmosphere. Among the quick cuts are Joel showing Ellie how to properly wield a firearm; a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of Offerman's Bill (a character from the games); and a wall covered in a nauseating fungal growth that recalls Alex Garland's Annihilation.
Check out the super-trailer below:
The small screen translation of The Last of Us hails from co-creators, writers, directors, and executive producers Craig Mazin (writer and producer behind the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning Chernobyl miniseries) and Neil Druckman (co-president of Naughty Dog and co-creator of the Last of Us property). Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam serve as executive producers. Kantemir Balagov, Jasmila Žbanić, Ali Abbasi, Peter Hoar, Jeremy Webb, and Liza Johnson are directors.
“Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own,” Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO Programming said in a statement, when the project was first ordered to series back in 2020. “With them at the helm alongside the incomparable Carolyn Strauss, this series is sure to resonate with both die-hard fans of The Last of Us games and newcomers to this genre-defining saga. We’re delighted to partner with Naughty Dog, Word Games, Sony and PlayStation to adapt this epic, powerfully immersive story.”
“We’re thrilled to be working with HBO and this fantastic creative team to bring ‘The Last of Us’ series to life,” added Jeff Frost, President of Sony Pictures Television Studios and Asad Qizilbash, Head of PlayStation Productions. "PlayStation’s innovative storytelling and ingenuity is a natural complement to SPT’s creative focus. Our collaboration is a great example of our ‘One Sony’ philosophy at work. We look forward to developing even more iconic game IP in the future.”