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The Last of Us is making waves. As HBO‘s hottest new show, all eyes are on the series to see what the future holds. Currently, only a few episodes are available on HBO Max, but it’s clear that The Last of Us is set to be one of the biggest shows of the year.

Fans and critics are loving the apocalyptic drama, with many praising the way it adheres closely to the world from the video game it’s based on. While stars like Pedro Pascal and Diego Luna lead the ensemble cast, several actors on The Last of Us also had a hand in creating the video game. 

The Last of Us is based on a cult-classic video game that was released in 2013. A groundbreaking game when it was released, The Last of Us tells the story of a battle-hardened apocalypse survivor tasked with bringing a young girl, Ellie, across the quarantine zone.

In the game, players experience a third-person perspective as they battle infected hordes, hostile creatures, and cannibalistic creatures infected by the deadly virus that Ellie might just hold the key to eliminating.

A series adaptation for The Last of Us was announced in 2020, with filming taking place from the summer of 2021 through the summer of 2022. It started streaming on HBO Max in January 2023, to almost immediate acclaim. 

Four voice actors from the video game appear in ‘The Last of Us’

Actors Ashley Johnson, Annie Wersching, Merle Dandridge, Troy Baker, and Hana Hayes pose onstage following The Last of Us: One Night Live reading in 2014
Ashley Johnson, Annie Wersching, Merle Dandridge, Troy Baker, and Hana Hayes all voice characters for The Last of Us video game | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Sony Computer Entertainment America

Fans of The Last of Us have called out how faithful the series is to the game, even bringing in several of the actors who lent their voices to the game.

Merle Dandridge, who voiced Marlene in the game, also plays the character of Marlene in the show, as IMDb reports. Marlene is an important character in the show, the head of a resistance movement who facilitates Joel’s meeting with Ellie.

Ashley Johnson plays Anna, Ellie’s mother, who voiced Ellie in both of the video games. Jeffrey Pierce, who provided the voice of Tommy in the video game, plays Perry, a rebel who is in the quarantine zone.

Finally, and perhaps the most iconic of all, Troy Baker plays James, the leader of a group of settlers. Fans of the franchise will know Baker actually voiced Joel in the video games.

‘The Last of Us’ sticks close to the timeline from the video game


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Not only does The Last of Us incorporate actors from the game, but it takes great pains to maintain the spirit and tone of the game along with the overall story. The changes that are made to the show are minor, such as having the show start in 2003, rather than 2013 as in the game.

As BuzzFeed reports, the opening of The Last of Us is also slightly different from the show, with the series opening with a video interview that offers some context for the outbreak. Notably, the game got right into the action, with no video opener.

However, the show and the game keep many small details consistent, including having both versions of Sarah wear the same shirt. Much of the dialogue is even the same during the first episode, including in the sequence where Sarah gives Joel his birthday present.

The driving scene, where Joel, Tommy, and Sarah attempt to flee to safety, heavily references the game, with the dialogue remaining extremely consistent between the series and the game. Ultimately, it is the creators’ dedication to quality that makes The Last of Us so compelling, rather than any one specific detail.