Culture / TV

Why everyone is talking about ‘The Last of Us’

the last of us cast

I am not a snob, I believe all films and TV have a time and place (even if that is the Razzies). But, I have never gone out of my way to see a video game adaptation. Mostly, they just fly under my radar. Like when Justin Kurzel's 2016 Assassin's Creed film dropped, which is odd because I really do enjoy Kurzel's movies. However, HBO's The Last of Us has changed that. If you're not a frequent player of video games, that title may not register, but for those who are, the nine-part series is probably one of the biggest premieres on your list for 2023.

Now that it's landed on HBO, The Last of Us is flipping the narrative on video game adaptations and proving to be a huge success. The launch of the series mirrors the launch of the video game in a way. Upon its release in 2013, the video game was quickly lauded as one of the best this century, given the gripping narrative at the heart of the game. It's set in a post-apocalyptic United States, where the population has been eviscerated by a deadly pandemic caused by cordyceps fungus – a timely premise, I think. Meanwhile, its creator Neil Druckmann was involved as a series showrunner alongside Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin.

I have never played The Last of Us, but from what I can gather from side-by-side scene comparisons on Twitter and the many sparkling reviews, the series stays true to the source material in everything from the dialogue to locations to avatar body language.

Arguably, one of the strengths of the series is in its casting. Pedro Pascal stars, as does Bella Ramsey. But let's get into it below.

Pedro Pascal


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A post shared by Pedro Pascal he/him (@pascalispunk)

Let us begin with Joel, a 50-year-old Texan construction worker in the business of people smuggling. You'll recognise Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel, from his stint on Game of Thrones as Oberyn Martell, a prince from Dorne. The Chilean-American actor has also worked in TV series like Narcos along with The Mandalorian.


Bella Ramsey


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A post shared by Bella Ramsey 🐏 (@bellaramsey)

Bella Ramsey is also in lead role. In The Last of Us she stars as Ellie, a teenager who was bitten by a Clicker (a person infected with the funghi) but has so far proved to be immune. Joel is saddled with the task of escorting Ellie safely across the country to doctors who could conceive a cure for humanity. As an actor, 19-year-old Ramsey is one to watch. Like Pascal, Ramsey also starred in Game of Thrones, where we got our first glimpse of her as Lyanna Mormont. Since then she's gone on to lead Lena Dunham's joyful adaptation of Catherine, Called Birdy where she starred alongside Andrew Scott.


Nico Parker


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A post shared by Nico Parker (@nicoparker)

A relative newcomer to acting, Nico Parker has acting credits in Tim Burton's Dumbo remake and plays Joel's daughter Sarah in The Last of Us. She's also a nepo baby, being the child of Thandiwe Newton and director Ol Parker.

Nick Offerman


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Nick Offerman really doesn't need an introduction, he's had a prolific career starring in TV shows like Parks and Recreation, Pam & Tommy, and The Resort alongside movies like The Founder and We're the Millers.


Storm Reid


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A post shared by Storm Reid (@stormreid)

Since her role in 12 Years A Slave, Storm Reid has racked up a whole host of acting credits, from The Invisible Man to starring alongside Zendaya as her sister Gia in Euphoria. In The Last of Us, she plays an orphaned girl called Riley, who befriends Ellie before she crosses paths with Joel.

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