The Last of Us first look photo features Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie

by Natalie Kiser

During Summer Game Fest, The Last of Us series co-creator and executive producer Neil Druckmann shared a first look photo from the upcoming HBO adaptation of the video game. The dark and spooky photo features Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) as Joel and Ellie, respectively, and if you look very closely, you can just make out what appears to be a clicker lurking in the darkness behind them.

The Last of Us, photo, HBO, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey

In addition to revealing the new photo, Neil Druckmann also announced that Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the voices behind Joel and Ellie in the video game, have been cast in The Last of Us TV series as different characters.

The Last of Us series takes place “20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed by a deadly virus. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone to the Fireflies, a cure-searching organization. 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.” In addition to Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us also features Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Storm Reid, Jeffrey Pierce and Anna Torv. Pascal has previously teased that The Last of Us was made for people who love the video game franchise.

There’s a very, very creative way of honoring what’s important and also preserving what is iconic to the experience of the video game, and also [to include] things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. And then directions that you would expect it to go, and it might not… they’re doing some really smart things, is all I can say. It’s similar to the way Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni treat The Mandalorian, in how [show co-writer Craig Mazin and game writer and show co-writer Neil Druckmann] are treating The Last of Us — it’s in good hands because they love it so much. Well, clearly Neil created the video game, but Craig loves it so much. So it really is made for the people that love it. And there’s some very intense storytelling for people who might be less familiar.

The Last of Us doesn’t have an official release date yet, but HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys said earlier this year that it wouldn’t air until 2023.