Craig Mazin's small screen take on The Last of Us video game franchise is officially coming to the Home Box Office. First announced in May of this year, the post-apocalyptic series has officially been green-lit, the premium cable network announced today. Mazin (scribe of The Hangover II - III and HBO's critically acclaimed Chernobyl miniseries) will write and executive produce the series alongside Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann.
“Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own,” Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO Programming said in a statement. “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.”
Set 20 years after a mutated strain of Cordyceps fungus started turning people into raging, zombie-like monsters, hardened survivor Joel is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What begins as a simple job becomes a brutal journey of heartbreak across the ruins of a collapsed United States.
You can check out the first official logo below. It's based on the insignia of the Fireflies, a militant group that wants to restore the American government and discover a vaccine to the Cordyceps infection. If anything, the show's content is more relevant than ever before.
"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."
"In removing the interactivity of the story, how do you make it unique for this other medium?" Druckmann said back in June. "It's an interesting challenge, and I think there's a lot to learn from it. More specifically with the show, I got to meet Craig Mazin. I'm a huge fan of Chernobyl, and to find someone who's equally a fan of the work we've done … Craig had ideas about how to adapt the show, it became intriguing to work with another creative who I admire. It just became a no-brainer — and to do it under the umbrella of HBO and all their content."
Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones) is executive producing along with Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells and PlayStation Productions’ Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan. When it's ready to be shared with the public, the show will debut on HBO and HBO Max simultaneously. Johan Renck (Chernobyl, The Walking Dead) was tapped to direct the pilot episode. No casting announcements have been made yet.
"There's no episodic nonsense here. This is all very much, like, curated. But the things that are new and enhancing of the storyline that we’re doing are connected in organic, serious ways that I think fans of the game and newcomers alike will appreciate," Mazin teased in August.
A sequel to the first game — The Last of Us Part II — was released over the summer to massive critical and commercial acclaim. A third game is potentially in the cards, but nothing is confirmed just yet.