Can HBO’s “The Last Of Us” survive the videogame adaptation curse?
Will Fulton, Contributing Writer
HBO could restore the tarnished image of videogame adaptations with their upcoming TV series, “The Last of Us”.
“The Last of Us” Is the story of a father learning to love again after the love of his life is taken from him, set over the backdrop of a unique type of zombie apocalypse. The show will be airing on both HBO and HBOMax, is based on the critically acclaimed 2013 game of the same name. It is being developed by “Chernobyl” creator, Craig Mazin, and the original game’s director Neil Druckmann. According to IGN, Druckmann is heavily involved in this show’s production.
Starring as the two main characters in the show will be Bella Ramsay and Pedro Pascal as the father and daughter figures, Ellie and Joel. The casting of Pedro Pascal as Joel was enough to make NGU student, Chappie Stanley, excited for the show’s arrival. He said, “Knowing Pedro Pascal is gonna be in it is definitely a reason why I’m gonna watch it because I loved Pedro Pascal after watching him in ‘The Mandalorian’”.
This show has been in development limbo for almost a decade now, with it originally being a feature length film. In the meantime, superfans of the game have made fan films that show us what the show could look like. These fan films are often truer to the atmosphere and spirt of the original games. This occurred with the game “Uncharted.” A movie inspired by the game had been in development for several years when a fan film was released and extremely well-received by the game’s fans. This film included a cast of Hollywood actors like Nathan Fillion and Steven Lang as partners, Nate and Sully. When the official movie was release, the fan film’s shadow loomed over its sub-par quality. No “The Last of Us” fan films have broken the internet quite like the “Uncharted” fan film did in 2018, so it is unlikely the TV show will have to fight for the fan’s preferences.
With “The Last of Us” finally being released next year, it will be the next videogame adaptation to reach the public. Movies based on videogames have rarely gone over very well in with both casual moviegoers and gamers alike. Previous attempts to adapt a videogame to the silver screen have been critical and commercial flops such as “Doom” in 2005 and “Warcraft” in 2016. More recently however, there have been a few successful adaptions such as “Sonic the Hedgehog” and its subsequent sequel in 2020 and 2022. This show is slightly different however, because it is not a feature length film. Being a series allows the story to have more time to breathe and develop.
One thing that this show has that many failed videogame movie adaptations do not have is people in charge who love the original source material. While speaking with GQ magazine, the star of the show, Pedro Pascal, said “it’s in good hands because they love it so much. Well, clearly Neil created the video game, but Craig loves it so much. So it really is made for the
people that love it. And there’s some very intense storytelling for people who might be less familiar.”
One person that is less familiar with “The Last of Us” is NGU student, Keely Lyons. She has never played the game, but she said, “I’m interested in the development of this father daughter idea. I’m usually not one for zombie shows, but I do think that seems to have a human element.”
The world will see whether or not “The Last of Us” can survive the videogame adaptation curse when it premiers in 2023.