The Last of Us, the mega-popular PlayStation game which received a sequel earlier this year, is soon heading to HBO as a television series. Writer/producer Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) has given a brief update about the TV adaptation, promising that it won’t “undo” what fans love about the video game’s story.
Speaking with BBC Radio 5 (via IGN), Mazin explained that while he knows The Last of Us TV series will be under scrutiny from fans, the show will “enhance” the story of the game instead of detracting from it.
“I think fans of something worry that, when the property gets licensed to someone else, those people don’t really understand it, or are going to change it,” he said. “In this case, I’m doing it with [Neil Druckmann] who [directed the original games], and so the changes that we’re making are designed to fill things out and expand – not to undo, but rather to enhance…We’re creating anew and we’re also reimagining what is already there to present a different format. It’s kind of a dream come true for me. I’m a little bit scared because a lot of emotions connected to this game are rather intense. I think I’m probably going to go hide in a bunker for a while because you can’t make everyone happy!”
The fact that Druckmann, who oversaw the creation of both games, is actively writing and producing this adaptation alongside Mazin instead of just executive producing from afar should be proof enough that the HBO version of the story will retain the essence of the game. I don’t expect the show to be a 1:1 copy of the cut scenes from the game – as Mazin notes, they’re reimagining it for a totally different format – but I think it’s safe to assume that the heart and soul of Joel and Ellie, the game’s protagonists, will be of the utmost importance.
The Last of Us is a “tale of the post-apocalypse, centering on the relationship between Joel, a smuggler in this new world, and Ellie, a teenager who may be key to a cure for a deadly pandemic. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle the 14-year-old girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey as they traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.” The first game was released in 2013, long before the coronavirus pandemic would render it more meaningful than ever.
Johan Renck, who directed Chernobyl, is set to direct the HBO pilot, and Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who composed the scores for both Last of Us video games, is providing the score for the show.
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