Back in March, it was reported that a live-action series based on the PlayStation exclusive The Last of Us was in the works at HBO from the creator of HBO exclusive Chernobyl - Craig Mazin - along with the games creative director and writer Neil Druckmann.
This will serve as the first TV production from the newly founded PlayStation Productions, who have just recently completed filming on the Uncharted movie adaption set to release in 2021 and starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Walhberg as his mentor Sully.
With two installments released so far, the Last of Us series is set to adapt the content from the first game with the potential for a follow-up centred around the events of The Last of Us: Part 2 to come down the line. The Last of Us stars smuggler, Joel, and teenager, Ellie, 20 years into a post-apocolyptic world as they attempt to smuggle Ellie - who may just hold the cure for the virus - out of a quarantined region of the US.
Today, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that HBO has now officially greenlit production of a live-action adaptation of the critically-acclaimed PlayStation exclusive game franchise, The Last of Us. The series is to be produced by HBO and Sony Pictures TV with support from PlayStation Productions, Word Games and the games developer Naughty Dog.
When questioned regarding the upcoming production, HBO excutive vice president of programming Carolyn Strauss said:
"Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own. 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."
Sony Pictures TV Studios president Jeff Forst with PlayStation Productions head Asad Qizilbash had this to say:
"We're thrilled to be working with HBO and this fantastic creative team to bring ‘The Last of Us’ series to life. 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."
Strauss (Game of Thrones), Evan Wells (Naughty Dog president) and Qizilbash and Carter Swan (PlayStation Production) will join Druckmann and Mazin in executive producing the series. Chernobyl director Johan Renck will direct the pilot episode.
WHAT THIS MEANS
With the mass outcry of support for this production when development was initially announced, it's no surprise to see this series officially getting the greenlight. Many fans of the games will be relieved to see Naughty Dog taking a deeply involved positon in the production, especially with writer Neil Druckmann set to produce the series.
When Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin was questioned by the BBC about the project back in August, he confirmed the series will include even more content that was absent from the games while maining what people loved including a "jaw drop" moment that is sure to surprise fans. On this he said:
"Jaw drop - that's going in. For sure, we have to do that. You couldn't stop me doing that. You will have to shoot me to stop me from doing that. And there were a few things like that."
So, fans who are familiar with the story of the games will still have surprises to look forward to when the series eventually comes to life. Many will be happy to hear The Last of Us is set of focus on the relationship between Joel and Ellie, which makes up much of the story of the games, instead of wasting episodes on irrelevant filler episodes. Currently, it's unknown when to expect the series to debut, but a release between late 2021 and 2022 is likely.
With a series like this, the casting of Joel and Ellie is critical to the success of the show and fans have already begun fan casting these two iconic characters with names like Kailyn Denver (Booksmart) being thrown around for Ellie and powerhouse actors like Hugh Jackman (Logan) being suggested for Joel. HBO has a consistent track record of casting high-tier actors for their productions, so fans should expect big names in this on-screen adaptation.
The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Part 2 are available now on PS4.