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The Last of Us being adapted into HBO TV series

Chernobyl creator working with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann

black-and-white artwork from The Last of Us Remastered of Joel and Ellie holding guns Image: Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

A television adaptation of The Last of Us, the post-apocalyptic survival franchise from PlayStation studio Naughty Dog, is in the works at HBO, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The project is intended to be a TV series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It is being led by Craig Mazin, who previously worked with HBO on the acclaimed 2019 miniseries Chernobyl and is writing the upcoming Borderlands movie. Mazin will team up with Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann, co-director and writer of both The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2, to write and executive-produce the TV show.

Naughty Dog president Evan Wells will also serve as an executive producer, alongside veteran HBO producer Carolyn Strauss. The TV series will be the first one from Sony Interactive Entertainment’s film and TV group, PlayStation Productions, which is co-producing with Sony Pictures Television, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

HBO tweeted the announcement Thursday with a clip of the symbol of the Fireflies, a militia in the fiction of The Last of Us, saying that the series is “coming soon.”

The Last of Us debuted in 2013 on PlayStation 3, and was ported to PlayStation 4 the following year. Sony has sold more than 17 million copies of the game across both platforms; players latched on to the thrilling, emotional tale of survivors Joel and Ellie and their cross-country trek for a potential cure to the viral outbreak that destroyed America. Its sequel, The Last of Us Part 2, is scheduled to be released May 29 on PS4.

Mazin and Druckmann plan to cover the events of the original game in the HBO series, although The Hollywood Reporter says there is “the possibility of additional content” based on the sequel.

“Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus,” Mazin told The Hollywood Reporter. “Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honored to do it in partnership with Neil.”

“From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us,” Druckmann said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn’t think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show.”

This won’t be the first attempt at a screen adaptation of The Last of Us. Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures had been developing a movie based on the game as of early 2014, but that project stalled in 2016 after a disagreement with Druckmann over the direction of the film.

Sony Pictures Television, the production company behind hits such as Breaking Bad, Justified, Outlander, and The Crown, plans to bring other video game projects to the small screen. “This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions,” said Chris Parnell, co-president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

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