• Stephen Jones

Is The Last of Us perfect for television?

Dear Diary,


The year is 2020. It has been nearly six years since we were promised The Last of Us movie. Life is now being controlled by unpredictability, and every month something more terrifying happens. We're not even two weeks into July, and already rumours of another Purge film are being spoken about. It's expected that it will be directed by one of those murder hornets that currently plague this ungodly world.


So, we are not quite in a post-apocalyptic world yet, but it's starting to feel like this year is cursed. Why can't we make the return to the simpler times of 2014? A deadly outbreak of Ebola, the rise of ISIS, and The Last of Us franchise was getting a movie.


Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker in The Last of Us (2013)

At times 2020 has felt like a never-ending rollercoaster and truth be told 2021 can't come soon enough, it's going to be a fresh year, and all this crazy stuff can be left well and truly in the past. Oh, what's that now? A Cordyceps fungus is going to infect the world and turn us all into mutants. Yep, that sounds about right.


Well, at least that's what will be happening when the HBO series of The Last of Us comes to the small screen. A date hasn't been announced yet, but we can't imagine it will be too long for HBO to get moving. Yes, we never did get that The Last of Us movie we were promised in 2014. So, whatever happened?


The simple answer is that it got pushed back and failed to make it to fruition (that and Ellen Page started to look less and less like Ellie). It didn't even make it to the production phase. Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann was in charge of the script and was also going to oversee the adaptation of the movie, but he never gave it his full support, causing it to fall into the dark abyss of movies that never got made.


The production of The Last of Us 2 took priority, a sequel was on the lips of every fan of the franchise, and for five years Druckmann tailored the script for the game. The wait was worth it and fans received a phenomenal follow-up that paid homage to the LGBTQ community as no game had ever done before.


The main protagonist (Ellie) is a lesbian and is in a relationship with a bisexual woman (Dina). It's a massive accomplishment for LGBTQ representation, and it's a video game that deserves all the praise it gets. Let's say The Last of Us movie did go ahead then we probably wouldn't have got such a great sequel. It would have been likely that Druckmann would be split between the two projects and at least with The Last of Us 2, we've got a game that will be cherished for years to come.


Ashley Johnson and Shannon Woodward in The Last of Us: Part II (2020)

A TV series makes perfect sense The Last of Us should never be made into a movie, and we should be looking at this as something that has saved the franchise from mass embarrassment. Come on now, let's think about this for a second, if the movie was made then at best you'd have two or three hours of fighting scenes with some storyline thrown in for good measure. You wouldn't get the same connection you get when you play the game, and ultimately the plot would be compromised.


Having it as a series now allows fans to immerse themselves into the dystopian world - where key plotlines will get explored, and main characters will get developed.


The Last of Us is such a unique story - the relationship between Joel and Ellie is so complex, and HBO has a chance to muster up something that the video game community are longing to see. We are talking about one of the most beloved video games of all time. Of course, it's going to be an immense challenge to please everyone, but at least the story can now be built up and structured in the right way.


So far, HBO has only released the synopsis: “The story takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival."


It's fantastic news that they will be covering events of the original game. But for this series to be as gripping as The Last of Us then HBO will need to enlist some very talented actors. Twitter is calling for Gerard Butler and Ellen Page to be involved as the pair were heavily tipped to play Joel and Ellie in the movie.


Who do you guys think would be a good fit, and can the series escape the backlash the video game sequel has garnered from certain fans? Let us know!


#TheLastofUsPart2#TheLastofUsPartll#TheLastofUs


Subscribe here to Fresh Take for more opinions on the world of film and television.


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


And subscribe to our podcast here.