There has been a new reveal about the upcoming HBO adaptation of The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal. According to a posted photo on the NaughtyDogInfo Twitter account, the timeline of the popular Playstation game has been changed. While the original storyline took place in the year 2033, following a massive pandemic that turned the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the series will be set in 2023.
This cryptic The Last of Us pic indicates the outbreak year as being 2003, rather than the game’s 2013, setting its timeline almost exactly in line with ours. It’s an interesting move for the Pedro Pascal HBO series’ part, given that there actually is a massive pandemic occurring that will almost certainly continue into 2023. While there are not (currently) any cannibalistic Cordyceps mutants out there, the parallels are striking. See the Tweet here:
Of course, there may simply be some logistical reasons for this. The original The Last of Us game was released by Naughty Dog in 2013, so they presumably tailored the scripted game storyline to fit the times for a greater sense of immediacy. The HBO adaptation of The Last of US is doing much the same, just with the added reality of the ongoing Covid-19 situation. Like all shows being produced in the last several years, The Last of Us has had to deal with production delays and quarantines. It has fortunately not yet affected the series lead Pedro Pascal’s involvement. That is fortunate, considering he has been a busy man with Wonder Woman 1984, Disney +’s The Mandalorian and now The Book of Boba Fett all in quick succession.
The Playstation version of The Last of Us was a hotly anticipated series upon its announcement in 2011, and immediately became one of the highest sold video games of all time. It was also critically well regarded for its depth of story, gameplay, and positive depiction of LGBT+ characters. A sequel game The Last of Us II was released in 2020 (along with various downloadable content) to similar sales and acclaim. The HBO adaptation has been in production since 2020 after several film versions failed to launch.
The series is co-written and developed by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. Mazin has already worked with HBO on the highly praised Chernobyl mini-series examining a real-life disaster, while Druckmann co-wrote and directed the original game. Pedro Pascal was cast as the lead Joel and Bella Ramsey as his ward Ellie in 2021.
The Last of Us is reportedly the largest ever television production in Canada, and Pedro Pascal is now one of the highest-paid working TV actors in the world. The rest of the cast is being filled out with ringers like Nick Offerman and Gabriel Luna. It will be interesting to see if all the star power and money HBO can throw will equal a hit. Video game adaptations like this and the long-delayed Uncharted have built a lot of anticipation in recent years, and pandemic dramas are approaching a cultural saturation point. The Last of Us is expected to be released sometime this year.