We have our first look at The Last of Us, HBO's upcoming series based on the popular video game. Starring Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, a new image released reveals the two in character looking ahead to a downed plane on a hilltop. We can only see them from behind, but looking over their shoulders does seem a bit reminiscent of the third-person video game. Check it out below.
Like the original PlayStation game, The Last of Us is set 20 years after a deadly fungus has ravaged the planet, turning humans into zombie-like mutants. Joel, a smuggler and hardened survivor, is tasked with smuggling teenage girl Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States, but he comes to rely on her as much as she relies on him for survival. Both harrowing and heartbreaking, the source material was ripe for a big-budget series adaptation, and HBO clearly saw the potential after noticing the game's smash success.
While Pedro Pascal is best known at this point for his starring role on The Mandalorian, his casting on Game of Thrones will unite him with another alum of that HBO series. Pascal has played Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones, a man who met a gruesome end at the hands of The Mountain in one of the show's most brutal deaths. Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie on The Last of Us, also starred on Game of Thrones as breakout character Lyanna Mormont. The two characters never shared the screen as Oberyn died before Lyanna's introduction.
It has also been announced that Gabriel Luna co-stars in The Last of Us as Tommy, Joel's younger brother. A photo of Luna and Pascal on the set was previously released, and Nico Parker is also shown in the image as Joel's daughter. The three were likely preparing to shoot a flashback scene, as the original video game's opening scene involves the three characters at the start of the outbreak.
Merle Dandridge also stars in The Last of Us as Marlene, head of the resistance movement known as the Fireflies. She reprises this role from the original video game. Also confirmed for the cast are Jeffrey Pierce, who played Tommy in the game, as original character Perry; Anna Torv as Tess, Joel's smuggling partner; Murray Bartlett as Frank, a survivalist; and Con O'Neill as Bill, another survivalist who lives with Frank.
Original game writer-director Neil Druckmann developed The Last of Us for HBO with Craig Mazin. The two also wrote the ten-episode first season with Kantemir Balagov directing the pilot episode. Original game composer Gustavo Santaolalla is also composing the score for the series.
The first season of The Last of Us is expected to debut sometime in 2022, but HBO has not announced an official date at this time. There's a lot of money invested into the project, making it the largest television production in Canadian history, as HBO seems to be hoping this turns out to be the next breakout hit like Game of Thrones. There are early plans for the series to last several seasons, and while it remains to be seen how season 1 turns out, the first look photo seems promising.