How long will The last of us race? The PlayStation game series it’s based on only has two installments, along with some extra material from DLC. Theoretically, a version of the TV show could spend several seasons adapting just one of the games before moving on to the sequel — or it could take the games as a jumping-off point to tell a completely different (and perhaps open-world) story destroyed by a zombie plague.
But that’s not the plan for HBOs The last of usaccording to its authors. Co-creator and author of the series Craig Mazin told Collider that the first season to debut on HBO and HBO Max later this month adapts the events of the first game The last of us. Should the show prove popular enough to merit additional seasons, they would cover the story The Last of Us Part II.
That game is expansive enough that the TV version could potentially require more than a single season to adapt it all. And after that…that would probably be it. Mazin said the show is designed to be “final” and will not start an ongoing narrative about Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) wandering through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Essentially, according to Mazin, they are making a TV show out of the games. And once they tell that story, the show ends. As he put it:
…the history that remains [after Season 1], continuing in the work that Naughty Dog has done on the other game, is a lot. Probably the amount of remaining story will take us more than a season to tell. But definitely, I don’t see this as something that goes on and on and on. We do not have that ambition. Our ambition is to tell the story that exists, as best we can, in another medium.
Mazin noted that this is how the series was originally pitched to HBO; as a show of the games that would take as many episodes as necessary to adapt The last of us and The Last of Us Part II, and that’s it. “Our approach to future seasons [would be] to say, ‘Okay, it’s going to be as many seasons as it takes to get to that end, and no more,'” he added.
Sounds like you need to prepare for a very faithful version of the games. But if you wanted to see a show about the world outside of the games…that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. The last of us premieres on HBO and HBO Max on January 15.