More faces are joining HBO's The Last of Us TV series, this time with the inclusion of a brand new character that we can only assume is meant to help bridge the gap between the adaptation and the first game of the Naughty Dog franchise. Joining Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) are Jeffrey Pierce (Castle Rock and the Last of Us video games), Murray Bartlett (Nashville), and Con O'Neill (Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King).
The confirmation of the latest casting news comes via Deadline for the HBO TV take that is set to take place within the timeline of the first game. Kantemir Balagov is scheduled to direct the pilot episode for the co-production between PlayStation Productions, Sony Pictures Television, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog itself. The Last of Us TV series also has two new directors with Jasmila Žbanić (Aida) and Ali Abbasi (Border), which were both revealed back in May. The pair joins Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin as the team works alongside Naughty Dog for creative direction.
The casting of Jeffrey Pierce is exciting as a fan of the first game, because he played Joel's brother Tommy in both titles. He's not the first voice actor taking to the HBO set either, Merle Dandridge is also in the upcoming TV series reprising her role as Marlene. Pierce won't be playing Tommy, that role has already been cast, but he will be playing a "rebel in a quarantine zone" by the name of Perry. If the character name doesn't sound familiar, that's because he wasn't in the games, which means he more than likely is an addition meant to help bridge the gap between the TV series and the narrative we know from the games themselves.
Speaking of the games and the stories they tell, Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann has said in the past that the TV series will feature original content to enhance the storyline from the first Last of Us. The first game's narrative was immensely powerful and one that took players on a wide ride that shows what it means to be human, even the not-so-pretty parts.
"We talked at length that season 1 of The Last of Us series is going to be the first game," Druckmann said in a previous interview when talking about the philosophy this series is taking. "As far as the superficial things, like should a character wear the same plaid shirt or the same red shirt? They might or might not appear in it; that’s way less important to us than getting the core of who these people are and the core of their journey. Things sometimes stay pretty close. It’s funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium."
It will be interesting to see where the TV adaptation takes fans. It's also nice to see that this story is being spread out in episodic form versus a movie, giving the team more freedom to tell their story at their own pace rather than trying to cram it all into one singular film.
Thoughts on the latest casting news for HBO's The Last of Us TV series? What are you thinking so far about the cast that's been revealed up until this point? Sound off in the comments below!