The Last of Us is believed to be the largest television production in Canadian history, expected to generate over CA$200 million in revenue for Alberta. Sources suggested the budget was between US$10 million and US$15 million per episode; The New Yorker claimed the series budget exceeded each of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. Calgary film officials felt Alberta was chosen for production partly due to the government's 2021 decision to remove its tax credit cap of CA$10 million per project. Canadian artists union IATSE 212 claimed the production led to a 30 percent increase in union membership and employment. The first season covers the events of the first game and its downloadable expansion The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014); Druckmann and Mazin suggested a second season would immediately cover the sequel, The Last of Us Part II (2020), to avoid filler; Part II is expected to span the course of multiple seasons. He does not want the series to overtake the games. The writers ensured characters remained true to their developments in Part II in case the show received more seasons. On January 27, 2023, less than two weeks after the series premiere, HBO renewed the series for a second season. A writers' room for the second season was established in Los Angeles by February.
Druckmann was open to changing any aspects of the games but always wanted a strong reason, ensuring he and Mazin considered the impacts on events later in the narrative. The game's outbreak takes place in 2013, while its post-apocalyptic narrative occurs in 2033; this was changed to 2003 and 2023, as the writers felt the story taking place simultaneously with the show's release was more interesting and real, and did not fundamentally change the story. The writers added the outbreak's origins to the series to ground the narrative; following COVID-19, they recognized audiences are more knowledgeable about viral pandemics than they once were. Borrowing from an approach he had used in writing Chernobyl, Mazin began the series with a segment of a fictional 1960s talk show explaining the origins of a fungal infection, implying humanity knew of the potential risk for some time. For the show, the writers removed spores as the vector through which the infection is spread in the games, replacing it with tendrils that form a unified, interconnected network, inspired by the idea of mycelium. The writers felt the game's gas masks did not translate well into television and spores were not a realistic threat, and found replacing it with an interconnected network increased tension. Visually, the fungal infection was inspired by jellyfish stings after Žbanić sent an image to Mazin during preproduction. The writers avoided making \"a zombie show\", acknowledging the infected creatures were ultimately a vessel through which the characters are pressured to make interesting decisions and reveal their true selves.
A short clip of Joel and Ellie hiding from a Clicker was released on November 16 to tease the show's appearance at CCXP the following month. Posters for eleven characters were released on November 30. Dandridge, Druckmann, Luna, Mazin, Pascal, and Ramsey appeared on a panel at CCXP on December 3, where the first full trailer was released, revealing the first appearances of Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Shepherd. Baker, Ashley Johnson, Pascal, and Ramsey presented at The Game Awards 2022 on December 8. HBO announced Baker would host a companion podcast alongside the series, featuring Mazin and Druckmann. In January 2023, Pascal and Ramsey were featured on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, while Pascal was on the cover of Wired. HBO released the first behind-the-scenes featurette on January 6, and several press outlets published interviews with cast and crew based on roundtable discussions from the previous month. Ramsey appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! alongside a clip from the series on January 9, and on The Late Late Show with James Corden on January 10. A season trailer was released after the airing of the first episode on January 15, and a two-hour trial of The Last of Us Part I was made available for PlayStation Plus Premium members.
When it comes to the question of when The Last of Us takes place, unlike other zombie shows, it's been made clear. The show is set in 2023, concurrently with its release date. However, the show opens in 2003 at the start of the outbreak. This is a slight difference from the game, which starts in 2013 and time jumps to 2033.
The The Last of Us TV show at HBO and HBO Max has been a long time coming. Fans originally were hoping to see the adaptation in 2022, but the release was confirmed to be sometime in 2023. HBO gave us a teaser to hold us over back in September, but no solid launch was given. However, HBO and Troy Baker, the actor of Joel in the games, have finally shared a release date for The Last of Us TV show: It will premiere on January 15, 2023.
Elsewhere, in the UK, broadcaster Sky has reportedly released promotional materials for the series featuring a premiere date of January 16, 2023. This date would stack up, as time zone differences typically mean that HBO shows are released on a Sunday in the US while UK viewers can watch the same episode in the early hours of Monday morning.
The show premiered on HBO in the US at 9pm EST on 15 January 2023. It was also simulcast by Sky and Now in the UK at 2am GMT on Sky Atlantic in the early hours of Monday 16 January 2023. 781b155fdc