What we know about The Last of Us HBO TV show – cast, release date, more - Dexerto
The Last of Us

What we know about The Last of Us HBO TV show – cast, release date, more

Published: 17/Oct/2021 5:20

by Brent Koepp


HBO’s The Last Of Us adaptation is in development and here is everything we know about it including casting news, its release date, and more.

First released in 2013 for PlayStation 3 and later released on PS4, The Last Of Us is often regarded as the best zombie game of all time, as well as the best PS exclusive.

It follows the story of Joel after a mutation of the Cordyceps fungus takes over the United States. He is tasked with transporting Ellie, a young girl who is immune to the disease, across the country in hopes of developing a cure.


Following the success of the first title, Naughty Dog released the highly-anticipated sequel that advanced the story of the main characters. Now HBO and Naughty Dog are bringing the critically acclaimed franchise to the screen with a multimillion-dollar production.

The Last of Us TV show: cast, characters & director

In March 2020, Home Box Office announced that they were taking on the project, and revealing its first director. Director Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, Chernobyl), was set to helm the pilot episode but had to drop out due to scheduling issues.

Since then, the project brought on Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole) who will now direct the Last of Us pilot. Ali Abbasi (Border) and Jasmila Zbanic (Quo vadis, Aida?) have also been tapped to direct episodes in the premiere season. More directors are expected to come on board.


As for the cast that will grace the screen in the Last of Us: Pedro Pascal (The Mandolorian) will play Joel. Ellie will be played by Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones). Merle Dandridge (The Flight Attendant) will play Marlene, and Gabriel Luna (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will play Tommy.

Check out one of the first shots of the cast in action below:

Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann is expected to write some episodes, while being a co-creator of the HBO adaptation alongside Craig Mazin.

Gustavo Santaolalla, who scored both Last of Us games, will create some music for the show. Executive producers include Asad Qizilbash (Uncharted), Rose Lam (Altered Carbon), PlayStation Productions’ Carter Swan, Naughty Dog President Evan Wells, and Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, Chernobyl).


The Last of Us TV show: release date and episode number

There’s no current release date for the show, but with casting now confirmed, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume a release date of 2022 or even 2023.

An Instagram post from Gabriel Luna on July 2, 2021 showed the cast together, presumably on set of The Last of Us. That means the show has at least started preliminary shooting.

There’s no timetable for release as of yet, but The Last of Us is expected to premiere with a 10-episode order for Season 1.


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A post shared by Gabriel Luna (@iamgabrielluna)

The Last of Us TV show budget

While the exact number isn’t known, reports have suggested that HBO are ready to shell out more money per episode on The Last of Us than they did on Game of Thrones.


A CTV News interview with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees 212 (IATSE 212) union president Damian Petti, who’s working with the production on the Last of Us, gave us an idea of HBO’s budget.

“I cannot confirm the official budget numbers but will say it is likely the largest project shooting in Canada,” Petti said. “This project well exceeds the eight-figure per episode mark,” he said, “so there is a multiplier effect on our economy in terms of its impact.”

HBO famously spent upwards of $6 million USD per episode for the first season of Game of Thrones, with that cost rapidly shooting up to $10 million to $15 million in the later seasons.


The Last of Us Season 1 is reportedly starting with an eight-figure budget per episode, and it’ll be interesting to see how it progresses with any future season orders.

The Last of Us TV show: trailers and screenshots

While no official footage has been revealed just yet, Naughty Dog revealed the first image of the new adaptation on September 26.

Last of Us TV show first look
Naughty Dog / HBO
The first official image from The Last of Us TV show.

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey can be seen in character as Joel and Ellie. The two are staring across a field at a wreckage, both in costume with their character’s respective backpacks.

The Last of Us TV show set photos

With production now underway on The Last of Us TV show, plenty of filming is being done on external sets. To capture the post-apocalyptic nature of the series, many of these outdoor locations have been sectioned off and completely overhauled for the sake of the shoot.

From rundown vehicles to overgrown foliage, many streets across the United States have been given an end-of-the-world makeover to fit the bill.

Given the budget, it appears no stone is being left unturned in bringing The Last of Us to life. From sprawling set designs down to the finest little details, it’s clear to see plenty of love is going into the production.

One fan even spotted a Savage Starlight poster on the TV show set.

The Last of Us TV show plot

In March, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the series will cover the events from the first game, with the “possibility” of it delving into Part II in the future.

Whether it will continue past the events of both games is currently unknown, but speaking to GameSpot, Troy Baker, Joel’s voice actor, claimed that the show could have “three to four” seasons to match the pace of the game.

We can only hope that HBO doesn’t rush through it… *cough* like the final season of Game of Thrones. *cough*