The Last of Us games are full of moments that have stuck with fans for years. While we don’t know how many of these iconic scenes will make it into HBO’s upcoming live-action adaptation, we now know the show will include a pretty faithful recreation of one of The Last of Us’ most memorable action sequences.
In recent weeks and months, fans have been sharing photos and videos from the set of HBO’s The Last of Us series. As production of that series ramps up, the set leaks are becoming more and more elaborate. Recently, a popular Twitter account that compiles some of those set leaks posted a behind-the-scenes video of a recent filming session that seemingly confirms that the upcoming show will attempt to replicate a classic Last of Us moment as closely as possible.
Judging by the clip, the live-action adaptation will faithfully feature The Last of Us’ famous ambush sequence that sees Joel and Ellie driving around in a truck before being approached by a seemingly injured man. Just like in the game, that man turns out to be a bandit trying to rob them (try to be surprised). So, Joel drives forward, dodges bricks and bullets, and eventually crashes into a store before engaging in a firefight. The Twitter post even shows another vehicle with a camera mounted on top driving in front of Joel’s truck, which implies that when this episode airs, this scene will primarily feature several clips of Joel’s truck from the front.
Even though that scene appears to be largely faithful to the game, it isn’t 100% accurate. For instance, in the live-action adaptation, the bandit dives out of the way of Joel’s truck, but in the game, Joel runs into him with fatal results. Also, I can’t help but ignore the state of the vehicle in the clip. In the game, Joel’s truck is rusted and ill-kept, but in the show, it looks fairly pristine. This apparent oversight is odd given the adaptation’s attention to detail when it comes to Ellie and her clothes. Maybe the effects team is planning on adding a little post-production grime to key sequences?
Moreover, as any Last of Us veteran will tell you, the ambush scene doesn’t immediately flow into that gunfight shown in the video. After Joel crashes his truck in the game, he has to fend off one bandit who kidnaps Ellie and another who wants to skewer Joel’s neck on some broken glass. The live-action show’s filming session apparently went right into the shootout, although that might have more to do with needing to maintain a shooting schedule. For all we know, the struggle inside the shop was already filmed.
Indeed, Pedro Pascal (who is portraying Joel in the adaptation) recently assured The Last of Us fans that the goal is to stick to the games as closely as possible whenever possible. Here’s what he had to say on that subject during an interview with GQ Magazine:
“There’s a very, very creative way of honoring what’s important and also preserving what is iconic to the experience of the video game, and also [to include] things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. And then directions that you would expect it to go, and it might not… they’re doing some really smart things, is all I can say. It’s similar to the way Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni treat The Mandalorian, in how [Mazin and Druckmann] are treating The Last of Us — it’s in good hands because they love it so much. Well, clearly Neil created the video game, but Craig loves it so much. So it really is made for the people that love it. And there’s some very intense storytelling for people who might be less familiar.”
Taking Pascal’s statement at face value, audiences can probably expect HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation to take the occasional liberty to keep longtime fans surprised. At the same time, that recent video strongly suggests that the showrunners are using the cinematic nature of the games as a pretty great excuse to try to recreate sequences like the one seen above. We will have to wait and see how the final product fares when the show airs in 2023.