So, something pretty big happened the other day. After years of silence regarding the film adaptation of Naughty Dog’s masterpiece The Last of Us, HBO shone a light in the dark with the announcement that they will be developing the television adaptation of the game.
Now this is huge news for fans of the game, like me, however, the real kicker is the talent attached from the start. The man himself, Neil Druckmann is attached to pen the script alongside writer Craig Mazin, who is hot off the heels of his haunting and disturbingly brilliant Chernobyl.
The dynamic duo were nothing but complimentary towards each other as they touted the adaptation as a dream job. When speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, who announced the project, Mazin stated:
“Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honoured to do it in partnership with Neil.”
Off immediate impressions, I have been overwhelmingly optimistic towards this project. From the talent already behind it, to the reputation and brand strength of HBO. It feels like a collective of people that will try their hardest to make the best adaptation they can of the material – especially with Druckmann, who will no doubt be incredibly protective over the project.
It must be said that a television adaptation poses far fewer worrying obstacles, when compared to the scrapped and incredulously shorter movie adaptation. It would have been practically impossible to satisfy the fans who had spent 13-18 hours in the game, and then condense that experience into a two hours film. The longer, and (let’s assume) ten-episode run time will allow for the smaller and more personal moments that made The Last of Us so special in the first place – with hopefully the right amount of emphasis on the central relationship of Joel and Ellie.
Now, the casting is no doubt going to ruffle a few feathers. Names such as Hugh Jackman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are begin flung around for the role of Joel, and Kaitlyn Dever seems to be the hot pick for Ellie at the moment. While I feel terribly guarded over the casting, if you were to throw your mind back to the casting in the game, Troy Baker isn’t the type you would imagine could pull off such a grizzled and reserved performance. So, I hope HBO don’t fixate too much on the look of the role, because at the end of the day, if they can embody the characters of Joel or Ellie, then I’m sure nine out of ten fans will be happy enough.
While it looks like the show will be a straight adaptation of the first game, Neil Druckmann took to Twitter once again to tease the involvement of the four-lettered mystery character – much like he has done with the upcoming Part 2. For those who don’t know, many believe the four letters to spell out Anna; the mother of Ellie and a character who was noticeably absent from the events of the first game – due to her supposed death days after Ellie’s birth. There are theories to make from this, namely that the adaptation could blend both the story from Part 1 and 2 – assuming that Anna is involved in the sequel to some extent like theorised. Although this could be interesting, it is hard to say at this point, as we are still months away from Part 2’s release. I think the story from the first game on its own is more than enough to tell in a single season, however, Druckmann may be eager to avoid a simple retelling of the same story, and instead take a new spin on it.
Whatever the case, I will be eagerly awaiting any news, and have easily placed it atop my list of anticipated shows for the foreseeable future. With its great pool of talent and the backing of a company such as HBO, I feel at ease, knowing that whatever the direction the property is in safe hands.