The Last of Us – the match against the TV show: How the HBO series compares to the best-selling Playstation original

As The Last of Us has captivated audiences and critics around the world, and some are already calling it one of the best shows to air this year.

HBO seems to have struck gold with the show, which follows a smuggler trying to escort a young girl across the post-apocalyptic United States after a global pandemic has turned millions into fungus-infected zombies.

The first episode has been seen by more than 22 million viewers since its premiere in the United States – the channel’s second-biggest debut since 2010 behind House of the Dragon – and has already been renewed for a second season.

The series is based on a hugely popular PlayStation game of the same name, and some critics have already hailed it as the best video game adaptation of all time.

HBO's The Last of Us follows Pedro Pascal's Joel as he escorts Bella Ramsey's Ellie (pictured above) across the post-apocalyptic United States

HBO’s The Last of Us follows Pedro Pascal’s Joel as he escorts Bella Ramsey’s Ellie (pictured above) across the post-apocalyptic United States

The series is based on a video game of the same name that shares broadly the same storyline. Pictured above: Ellie and Joel in the video game

The series is based on a video game of the same name that shares broadly the same storyline. Pictured above: Ellie and Joel in the video game

Adapting video games for television or film has always proved a challenge, with some having been more successful than others.

The video game The Last of Us released by publisher Naughty Dog in 2013 received awards and praise for its storyline, graphics, gameplay and characters.

HBO acquired the rights to adapt the property following a joint pitch by Craig Mazin, who directed the hit show Chernobyl, and Neil Druckmann, who was the writer and creative director of the original game.

Many fans were excited to see how the show would translate to the big screen, including the actors who would portray the characters they had come to know and love.

How do the characters from the video game compare to their TV versions?

Joel MillerPedro Pascal

The game version of Joel portrayed by Troy Baker

Pedro Pascal as Joel in the HBO series The Last of Us.

Joel Miller (pictured left in the game and right in the TV series) is tasked with escorting a young girl across the post-apocalyptic United States

Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal got his first big break in another HBO series, Game of Thrones, where he portrayed the proud and charismatic Oberyn Martell.

In the series, he plays Joel Miller, the smuggler tasked with escorting a young girl across the United States and protecting her from fungal-infected people, assailants and vigilantes.

Pascal claimed he ignored producers’ instructions not to play the game before filming the series, admitting he had never heard of it before getting the part and he just wanted to work with HBO and Mazin .

He told Wired: “I had never heard of the game. Her instruction was, “Don’t play the game.” I ignored her. I tried to play the game and I was very, very bad at it. But my nephew was fantastic.

“It was important to me to play notes that directly relate to what was originally in the game – physically, visually, vocally.”

Ellie Williams, Bella Ramsey

Ellie in the game version of The Last of Us was portrayed by Ashley Johnson

Bella Ramsey on the HBO TV show The Last of Us

Ellie (pictured left in the video game and right in the TV series) is a 14-year-old orphan who harbors a potentially world-changing secret in The Last of Us

Ellie, the central character of the overarching The Last of Us series, is first introduced to players and viewers as a 14-year-old orphan who must be escorted across the United States by Joel.

On the series, she is played by Bella Ramsey, who, like his co-star Pascal, got her big break on the HBO show Game of Thrones, where she played the straight-laced young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont.

The Nottingham-born actress, who has also appeared on BBC’s His Dark Materials and CBBC’s The Worst Witch, has impressed critics with her performance but revealed she almost didn’t audition for the role.

Ramsey, who revealed himself to be gender biased earlier this month, told the Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve been thinking seriously that maybe I don’t want to be famous, so I’m not going to do this show because it’s going to take me to a place where I’m not in relation to wanting to be seen and known.’

Nico Parker portrayed Joel's daughter Sarah on the HBO series The Last of Us.

Hana Hayes played Sarah in the first game

Sarah (pictured left in the TV series and right in the video game) is the daughter of the protagonist Joel

Although she only appears briefly in the game and in one episode of the series, Sarah’s death casts a large shadow over Joel early in the narrative.

As the storyline progresses, Joel begins to see a lot of his daughter in Ellie as he faces his grief over the tragic killing at the hands of soldiers in the early stages of the outbreak.

In the series, she is portrayed by British actress Nico Parker, daughter of Thandiwe Newton, who was a huge hit with viewers who were amazed by her convincing performance.

One fan wrote: “The Last of Us has been cast perfectly so far, but Nico Parker’s performance as Sarah was phenomenal. That scene broke me.’

Bill (Nick Offerman)

In the game, Bill was portrayed by William Earl Brown

HBO cast Nick Offerman in the role for its adaptation

Bill (pictured left in the game and right in the TV series) is a survivalist with a connection to Joel

One of the biggest changes to the storyline so far has been the character of Bill, a survivor who has made it through the pandemic alongside his partner Frank in a town outside of Boston.

In the game, Bill allies with Joel and Ellie as he helps them on their journey west after being abandoned by Frank some time ago for unknown reasons. It is later revealed that Frank killed himself after becoming infected.

In the series, Bill is no longer alive when Joel and Ellie arrive at his compound, having committed suicide along with Frank a few months earlier when his husband’s health was failing.

Comedy actor Nick Offerman, best known for his role on Parks & Recreation, was cast to play Bill on the series and garnered rave reviews for his tender and moving performance in episode three, with some fans calling it one of ‘biggest TV episodes’ ever referred to’.

Tess ‘Tessa’ Servopoulos (Anna Torv)

Anna Torv was chosen to play Tessa on the HBO series The Last of Us

In the game, Tessa was portrayed by Annie Wersching

Tessa (pictured left in the TV series and right in the video game) is Joel’s partner on the series

Tessa is Joel’s longtime smuggling partner in The Last of Us, who is often credited as the brains of his muscle in their two-person enterprise.

Tessa is portrayed in the series by Australian actress Anna Torv, and in both portrayals of the character, she appears as a brave and resourceful woman who sadly dies while she and Joel try to get Ellie to date the militant group of fireflies.

Tessa dies after contracting Cordyceps, although in-game she is killed by government forces rather than heroically blowing herself up to buy Joel and Ellie time to escape a horde of “clickers” like they do in the show does.

In the HBO adaptation, Tessa gets a gut-wrenching kiss from one of the infected, which showrunner Mazin called “nightmare fuel.”

Marlene (Merle Dandrige)

Merle Dandridge originally played the character of Marlene in the game

She reprized her role in the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us

Marlene (pictured left in the game and right in the TV series) is the leader of an anti-government group called the Fireflies

As the leader of the Fireflies, Marlene is introduced to viewers and players as the anti-totalitarian freedom fighter who is the person who sends Joel and Ellie on their journey together.

She was portrayed in the game and television series by actress Merle Dandridge, who was the sole actress involved in the video game.

Dandridge said she was “deeply honored and thrilled” to receive the call to say she was coming back, noting that since it was a different medium her performance had to change.

She told Collider: “There was a lot built on top of what I had done because the core knowledge of who this person is remains the same, but how they work and act and interact with all of that might adapt a little, especially.” when she works towards people you look at these characters through a new lens.’

Tommy MillerGabriel Luna

Gabriel Luna was chosen to play Tommy on the HBO version of The Last of Us

In the game, he was portrayed by Jeffrey Pierce

Tommy (pictured left in the series and right in the show) is Joel’s younger brother on the series

Tommy Miller is Joel’s younger brother who worked as a carpenter before the pandemic and was close to him and his niece Sarah.

After the outbreak, Tommy joins the Fireflies but becomes disillusioned and moves to Wyoming in search of a more purposeful life, a decision that leads Joel on the show to attempt to cross country with Ellie.

He is portrayed in the TV series by Texan actor Gabriel Luna, who has played roles in Agents of SHIELD and True Detective, and who has claimed playing a role based on the video game is like a “biopic about a person who lives in the… life exists”. .

He told the Hollywood Reporter, “I was trying to absorb [from the games] what I felt was important and what players are hoping for from a true translation of the game.’ The Last of Us – the match against the TV show: How the HBO series compares to the best-selling Playstation original

Bradford Betz

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