Sony’s The Last of Us is one of the biggest franchises in all of video gaming these days. This year alone The Last of Us Part 2 just took the record as the mostly highly awarded video game of all time. These games are mostly known for their story of main characters Joel and Ellie and their trip through a post-apocalyptic wasteland ravaged by an airborne contagion that has decimated most of humanity. Once infected with the Cordyceps (which is an actual real disease!), the virus completely transforms you into a zombie like creature that reduces you to your basest instincts and leaves you hungry for human flesh and blood.
This “type” of game has been done a million times before, post-apocalyptic zombie fiction is as common as they come. What sets this franchise apart is the story set within this world. It’s not some epic race to save humanity with bombastic set pieces and action heavy content. While there is a small part of the narrative that deals with trying to save the last remnants of humanity, its really a tale of personal relationships and the heavy toll of loss and the breaking down of human nature when pushed to the absolute brink of destruction. Yes, there are set pieces in both games, but they are accents first meant to add some flavor to a rather dour and slow-moving story. In the first game you mainly play as Joel as you shepherd the young Ellie across the land in an effort to weaponize her blood in order to create a vaccine to combat the virus. The second game sees you play mostly as Ellie as you deal with the fallout of decisions made in the first title and the consequences of your decisions. Its a very depressing story and features some immensely powerful moments that really get into the depths of how vengeance can wreak havoc on even the purest souls.
One thing that many fans of these games have been saying is that this world is rife for a live action adaptation. Last Year it was announced that HBO was taking up the reigns to adapt the first games narrative with Craig Mazin (producer of HBO’s critically acclaimed mini-series CHERNOBYL) coming on board to see it to life with TLOU’s game director Neil Druckmann helping guide the story and seeing that this world is properly realized.
Since it was announced fans flooded all corners of the internet to fan cast who would be brought on to play the live action versions of these beloved characters. There were a lot of good thoughts as to who would be a perfect fit. I personally saw Nikolai Coster Waldau (Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones) would’ve made a perfect Joel and Millie Bobby Brown would’ve nailed Ellie. Well, depending on when you read this, late last night HBO finally announced who they had selected to play the parts and to be honest I didn’t see it coming yet I am so fucking excited to see this to fruition. First it was dropped that Bella Ramsey (known for the spitfire Lyanna Mormont from Game of Thrones) had been tapped to play Ellie. I loved her small run of episodes on the show and she was an easy highlight so this was a delight.
Then they announced their choice for Joel…. And holy shit my excitement became so intense that you’d swear I was wearing pleated pants when I read the initial news. Everybody’s new favorite bounty hunting Mandalorian Pedro Pascal is being hired to play Joel Miller. I mean… what more is there to say? This dude is absolutely killing it lately. The Mandalorian is the best thing to happen to Star Wars since the OG trilogy, his turn as The Viper in Game of Thrones (I’m beginning to sense a theme here) was a star making pivot point in his career and even though Wonder Woman 84 was an unmitigated piece of shit, Pedro was easily the standout. There’s definitely going to be more casting and other news as well but this is the biggest story regarding this adaptation and I for one am that much more excited to see everything else this team has to offer. What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Pedro and Bella battle cordyceps infected zombie like creatures across a world that has been completely laid to waste by said virus? I am for sure… and so should you.