The Last of Us series headed to HBO from Chernobyl creator

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

The Last of Us, HBO, Neil Druckman

While scores of gamers are impatiently waiting for the much-anticipated release of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II video game — which is scheduled for a May 29, 2020 launch on Playstation 4 — it's been announced that CHERNOBYL creator Craig Mazin will adapt the post-apocalyptic tale for what is planned to be a series on HBO.

Joining Mazin for the effort will be writer and creative director of the game, Neil Druckmann, who is said to be penning the series with Mazin in addition to acting as an executive producer on the project. Moreover, Carolyn Strauss will also executive produce alongside Evan Wells, the president of Naughty Dog, the Santa Monica-based developer of the game.

It's also worth noting that HBO's The Last of Us series will replace plans to adapt the story of Joel and Ellie for the big screen, which Sam Raimi had been tapped to produce. Furthermore, Raimi is no longer attached to the TV version of The Last of Us.

The Last of Us video game focuses on the relationship between Joel, a smuggler, and Ellie, a teenager who may be key to a cure for the 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 both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.

Mazin, who is said to be an avid player of the game, stated, "Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus. Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I'm so honored to do it in partnership with Neil."

To which Druckman responded, "From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us." He then added, "With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn't think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show."

In addition to being showered with countless "game of the year" awards, The Last of Us has sold more than 17 million copies across Playstation platforms since the game's June 14, 2013 launch. While a plethora of "game of the year" awards is certainly a feather in Naughty Dog's cap, it's worth noting that many gamers have declared that The Last of Us is their favorite video game of all time. For real, just ask my sister-in-law, who's played and beaten the game upward of eleventy billion times. No, I'm not joking. She is a total beast when it comes to The Last of Us. The same goes for Sony's Horizon: Zero Dawn, but that's a whole other bag of cats altogether.

"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to partner with Craig, Neil, Carolyn and the teams at Sony, Naughty Dog and PlayStation to bring the virtual world of this acclaimed game to life," stated HBO programming president Casey Bloys.

"This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions," said Chris Parnell, co-president of Sony Pictures Television Studios. "The Last of Us is a brilliant achievement in storytelling and character development, and we are lucky to have the opportunity to work with this team to adapt it."

The first of many shows intended to be developed from the Playstation brand, you say? Well that's flippin' awesome news! What I find to be the most encouraging aspect of this news, is that CHERNOBYL has been hailed by many as one of 2019's must-see series. Hell, it even arrived as the number one pick for our Top 20 Television Series of 2019 list last year. If that's not a glowing endorsement, I don't know what is. Personally, I've been looking to play through The Last of Us once more before the sequel smashes onto the gaming scene later this year. It's one of my all-time favorite video games alongside titles like Shadow of the Colossus, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Toejam & Earl, Rez Infinite, and of course, Diablo 3. I say bring this adaptation the hell on, and hurry up with those other mystery announcements you'd mentioned, Parnell. Inquiring minds want to know what you're up to.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.