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The first look at HBO's The Last of Us series just dropped

Bella Ramsey (as Ellie) and Pedro Pascal (as Joel) are seen from behind as they stare at a crashed plane in The Last of Us HBO series
(Image credit: HBO)

HBO Max may be going through a tough time of it at the moment — cancelling and losing a whole lot of content ahead of its merger with Discovery Plus — but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve. 

Perhaps to reassure subscribers that there’s still plenty to look forward to, HBO Max shared a showcase (opens in new tab) of upcoming Originals set to air in the coming months and years, and top billing was given to the dramatic adaptation of PlayStation classic The Last of Us.

In a multi-show trailer that includes extremely brief clips of The White House Plumbers, House of the Dragon, Succession, The White Lotus, Industry and many more, The Last of Us receives a full 20 seconds at the end. You can see it at 1:42 in the video above.

You don’t see any Infected in the clips, but you do get a sense that the dark, isolated and hopeless atmosphere of the game will be replicated in the vibe of the show. You see clips of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and his infection-immune young charge Ellie (Bella Ramsey) huddling together in abandoned buildings, examining spore-covered walls and traversing snow-covered vistas in expensive-looking dramatic shots. We also get the briefest shot of Nick Offerman’s Bill removing his gas mask, and Joel teaching Ellie to use a firearm. 

“Everybody I've cared for has either died or left me,” Ellie cheerlessly says at one point. Joel decides that one-upping a depressed 15-year-old in the grief stakes is a sensitive thing to do, and duly replies: “You have no idea what loss is.” Safe to say that it won't be as feel-good as something like Ted Lasso

Still, it is looking good, and while dramatic adaptations of video games are almost always dreadful, there’s reason to be optimistic here. 

As well as the impressive-looking teaser, Neil Druckman — the game’s writer and director — is in charge, alongside Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. Even the music is being handled by the game’s composer Gustavo Santaolalla, so it’s hard to imagine this will be anything less than a faithful adaptation.

No release date has been provided, but we’re expecting The Last of Us’ first 10-episode season to arrive early next year. In the meantime, here are seven HBO Max shows that all have a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes to keep you going.

Next: Get ready for the She-Hulk episode 2 release date. Also, Forget House of the Dragon — The Rings of Power's trailer is properly epic, and these 7 must-watch HBO Max movies are 95% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.