HBO’s “The Last of Us” Stays True to its Video Game Source Material


HBO’s “The Last of Us” premiered Jan. 15, 2023 starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey

HBO’s new hit show, “The Last of Us,” takes a lot of inspiration from its video game predecessor under the same name, released in 2013.


In the zombie survival game, players assume the character Joel, who travels across the United States in a zombie-filled apocalyptic world with a teenage girl named Ellie. Ellie is immune to zombie bites and is the key to saving humankind.


HBO’s “The Last of Us” series is an accurate adaptation following a plot similar to the game. This zombie-thriller follows Joel, who escorts Ellie on a risky journey that could lead to a cure.


Not everything from the show is completely accurate, as there are some differences throughout the episodes.


“Adaptations should be close to its source material in general,” freshman Kai McMahan said. “Fans of the original want to see an enactment of what they enjoy, so it’s important to stay true to the source material.”


Fans of the game love the voice-acting, story, world-building, action, and heartbreaking moments from the game. As for the show, “The Last of Us” has been massively popular on HBO since its release. Viewers have been invested in Joel and Ellie’s story and kept on the edge of their seats with the intense scenes and riveting action.


“I think they’re both good,” freshman Neo Flynn said. “I really like them as equals. It doesn’t matter. They’re really good overall.”


When the virus first breaks out, Joel loses his daughter, Sarah, from a gunshot wound involving a firefight with a soldier. He carries a lot of emotional baggage throughout his journey in both the game and the show.


Ellie was born in the middle of the outbreak and grew up as an orphan in an oppressive military quarantine zone with little knowledge of the outside world. She’s brave, witty, and strong.


The two really balance each other out and form an incredible father-daughter relationship. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, who play Joel and Ellie in the show, capture these characters perfectly and give an amazing performance. Pascal and Ramsey delivered one of the best scenes in episode six of the show, and although it was a scene from the game, the two really made it their own.


“I believe that their takes on the characters are good and faithful to the source material,” ‘Last of Us’ fan Felton Woodson said. “ I think that both of them, but Bella Ramsey in particular, have done a good job of taking iconic scenes from the game and making them into memorable scenes in the show.”


Fans of the game may note some variations in the television adaptation and appreciate scenes from the game. Similarities include Ellie’s joke book and having events from the game play out similarly in the show. In contrast, differences include the timeline. In the game, the outbreak took place in 2013, with the majority of the game taking place in 2033, whereas in the show, the outbreak took place in 2003, with the show mainly taking place in 2023. The show also expanded on some things that the game didn’t, like the origin of the virus.


“Between the show and the game, obviously there are a lot of similarities because it derives from the same story, but I do appreciate the creative differences and the creative liberties that the directors, producers, and the game creators allow the show to take,” Woodson said.


Overall, “The Last of Us” is a great show and an incredibly faithful adaptation of the game. Whether you’re a fan of the game or not, “The Last of Us” is definitely worth watching and checking out.