Skip to main content

HBO sets a January 2023 debut for The Last of Us series

Many years ago, film critic Roger Ebert infamously declared that “video games could not in principle be art.” Because of his position, gamers took Ebert to task and tried to explain that the medium had come a long way since the days of Atari. Ironically, the late Mr. Ebert died a few months before the release of The Last of Us in June 2013. Sony and developer Naughty Dog’s powerful fusion of gameplay and cinematic storytelling created an experience that rivals any film or TV show. This game is art. And early next year, the first-ever live-action adaptation of The Last of Us is coming to HBO.

To the edge of the universe and back. #TheLastOfUs premieres January 15 on @HBOMax.

— The Last of Us (@TheLastofUsHBO) November 2, 2022

As you can see in the poster above, The Last of Us will premiere on Sunday, January 15, 2023, with new episodes following weekly on HBO and HBO Max. The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pacal is starring in the series as Joel, a man haunted by personal loss in a post-apocalyptic America that was ravaged by a plague. Within both the game and the show, Joel is hired to escort a young girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the country. And because Ellie is immune to the plague, her safety may be vital to the survival of humanity itself.

Joel and Ellie in HBO's The Last of Us.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There’s no shortage of action in the story, but one of the core parts of the game is the way that Joel and Ellie emotionally bond and rely on each other to survive the experience. That’s one of the main reasons why the story resonates so strongly with gamers. Neil Druckmann, the writer of the original game, teamed up with Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin for HBO’s The Last of Us; which should insure that the important aspects of the experience will remain intact within the show.

Gabriel Luna co-stars in the series as Joel’s brother, Tommy, with Merle Dandridge as Marlene, Anna Torv as Tess, Nico Parker as Sarah, Murray Bartlett as Frank, Nick Offerman as Bill, Storm Reid as Riley Abel, Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, Lamar Johnson as Henry, Keivonn Woodard as Sam, Graham Greene as Marlon, Elaine Miles as Florence, and Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the original voice actors for Joel and Ellie, will also appear as different characters within the show.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
The 7 most shocking moments from HBO’s The Last of Us
Joel holds a rifle in The Last of Us.

HBO's The Last of Us has concluded its first season, and audiences are reeling after everything they experienced throughout the first nine episodes. Joel and Ellie's journey throughout post-apocalyptic America was long and arduous, and the suffering they endured at the hands of humans and Infected alike was far from forgiving.

Now that the first part of their adventure is finally over, here's a look back at some of the most shocking moments in the series.
7. Outbreak Day

Read more
I just finished The Last of Us and loved it — here’s what I’m watching next
A Mandalorian walks next to Grogu in The Mandalorian season 3.

It's only March, but the leader for the best show of 2023 is The Last of Us. Based on the best-selling video game series, The Last of Us depicts a post-apocalyptic world after a mass fungal infection in 2003 that leaves people in a zombie-like state. The series picks up in 2023 as it follows Joel Miller (The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal), a ruthless smuggler who tragically lost his daughter in 2003. Joel is tasked with transporting a young girl named Ellie (Game of Thrones' Bella Ramsey) across the U.S. because she may hold the key to finding a cure for the infection.

From the first episode, The Last of Us instantly became another HBO success as the pilot became the second-largest debut (4.7 million viewers) since 2010 behind House of the Dragon. The series has been praised for its writing, lead performances, and faithfulness to the source material. The Last of Us is already one of the most critically acclaimed video game adaptations ever.

Read more
Why The Last of Us is better as a TV show than a video game
Pedro Pascal with his finger to his mouth telling someone to be quiet in a scene from The Last of Us on HBO Max.

HBO's series The Last of Us has proven to be one of the most popular and well-crafted TV shows in recent memory, which has helped dispel the stigma toward video game adaptations. But naturally, many people armed with their keyboards have deconstructed the series and made heavy comparisons to the acclaimed video game it is based on.

While some may prefer the game over the show, the TV series has arguably improved it in multiple aspects, including in terms of plot, characters, visuals, and overall mainstream appeal. The series has finished its first season, and with another on the way, there is already proof that The Last of Us is better off as a TV show.
The show focuses more on the narrative

Read more