In 2020, HBO announced that they had green lit a series that would adapt the popular video game The Last of Us that is now set to premiere in 2023. I have previously written about the anticipation of the series and the casting possibilities prior to the announcements of Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna and Anna Torv in leading roles, but the television network recently dropped a trailer that provides the biggest glimpse of the show and its characters including some surprises as well as showcasing moments from the game that fans are sure to recognize.
Set against the Hank Williams song “Alone and Forsaken”, The Last of Us shows scenes of post-apocalyptic life for people living in quarantine zones; curfew is in effect, meals are rationed, fear of infection is everywhere and armed soldiers watch over civilians as graffiti is painted over. The graffiti is that of the Fireflies, a resistance group that is actively searching for a cure for the virus and hoping to restore the normal functions of the government. We also see the quiet face of Pedro Pascal as he portrays Joel, a hardened survivor who lost his daughter on the day the outbreak began. There are also scenes of Bella Ramsey’s character of Ellie, a young girl who discovers she is immune to the infection, being chained up alluding to a memorable section of the game as she is forced to escape from the clutches of a cannibalistic group.
During the trailer, it is evident that the crew paid special attention to pull off the look and feel of the game as there is a shot of a destroyed city as well as landscapes littered with decayed skeletons and a prominent scene that shows Joel and Ellie hiding from a pack of infected in a museum. These particular infected are known as Clickers; victims of infection that are now blind and hunt by noise while emitting a haunting clicking sound as they search for prey. A clicker is seen in full grotesque glory during a brief glimpse of the trailer and while that is the only infected really seen in the trailer, it is a certainty that other varieties will appear in the series.
The series will also seem to adapt the game’s popular downloadable content Left Behind that allows the player to control Ellie as she searches for supplies to heal Joel while she remembers a time prior to the events of the regular game where she and her friend Riley snuck into an abandoned leading to Ellie being bitten and discovering her immunity. The brief scene not only shows Ellie but also Riley enjoying a ride on a carousel while trying to imagine what life was like before the infection. The game’s incredible prologue is also set to be featured prominently as Pedro Pascal is shown cradling a child as infected seemingly become aware of their presence and possibly start to chase them. Other characters from the game such as Tommy, Bill, Tess and Marlene will also appear in the series but this teaser was more designed to show off the tone of the series rather than introduce everyone. Tess, Joel’s smuggling partner, is given some prominence but it is in the form of a voiceover that closes the trailer telling Joel to save who he can save.
The one major surprise is the casting of Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, an original character for the series who is the leader of a revolution that is occupying a city during Joel and Ellie’s journey. The series will certainly offer a chance to flesh out Kathleen’s character as well as show off characters like Bill and Tommy who did not have a chance to interact with the story of the game for very long. From what little has been seen of HBO’s The Last of Us so far, it is evident that creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann are determined to make this adaptation one of the best video game adaptations to ever be created.