HBO's The Last of Us will only follow the first game
But parts of the story will deviate greatly.
I wasn't the only one who had tons of questions when HBO and PlayStation Productions finally revealed they were teaming up to make a The Last of Us series one year ago. Some of these have been answered since, including who's playing Joel and Ellie. Still, no one has wanted to answer clearly when asked if the series will follow both games or if they're taking a different approach. Until now.
IGN's Lucy O'Brien had the pleasure of talking with Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross during South by Southwest 2021, and "Dr. Uckmann" was in a very sharing mood when asked whether or not the The Last of Us series will follow the games closely:
"When we were wrapping up The Last of Us 2 I would meet pretty regularly with Craig Mazin, who's the co-showrunner and executive producer on the show...Chernobyl was amazing and blew us all away...and we talked about at length about that season one of the show is going to be game one and what are the philosophical underpinnings of the story. Those are the most important to get right. As far as the more superficial things, like should the person wear the same plaid shirt or the same red shirt? They might or might not appear in it. That's way less important to us than getting the core of who these people are and the core of their journey.
But things sometimes stay pretty close. It's funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium. For example, in the game, there's so much action you have to have to train the player about mechanics, so you have to have more violence and more spectacle to some degree than you would need on a TV show because you don't need to train people on how to use a gun. So that's something that's been really different, and HBO's been great in pushing us to really move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character and I've been really enjoying that. Some of my favourite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can't wait for people to see them."
There are a few thing in that answer really worth noting. First, the fact that Druckmann specifies season one sure makes it sound like the door is more than open for a second season. Then we have that the series will stay true to the core of the first game, but also deviate significantly in certain ways. It'll be very interesting to see exactly how. He also says that he's seen the first prosthetic-test for the clicker, so they're apparently going for a more practical approach than CG. A decision I really like on paper.
What do you think? How much do you think the series should deviate from the games?