It’s been a hot minute since I’ve felt like I could write about a trailer.
But I suspect this speaks to my admiration of the Naughty Dog franchise The Last Of Us. A story which asks the protagonist, Joel Miller (Troy Baker), “how do you find yourself again in a time of loss and violence?”. Well very violently first of all. But then slowly through the connections we form with others who come into our lives.
And this very much looks to be the way it plays out in the upcoming HBO series of the same name on NEON.
Which means I want to dive into some of the nods I liked from the trailer, what might be getting setup, and some of the theories I’ve discussed with fellow fan Loonie. So no need to beat around the heads of the cordycep enemies we meet in the game any longer, let’s dive in!
Sure, A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ is already iconic. But in this particular case it’s very interesting as it ties to the series in one particularly memorable way.
It’s a scene from Part II.
So if its Part II, just why is it getting set up now? And what else might be getting set up? Which ties into a theory Loonie and I shared.
Just who the hell is Melanie Lynskey playing?
While we knew a lot of the castings for the upcoming series, the first teaser revealed that Aotearoa’s very own Melanie Lynskey is in The Last Of Us. Much like A-Ha, they’re iconic in their own right and even moreso after their role in the 2021 series Yellowjackets.
But who are they playing?
And just what are showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann up to? Loonie and I speculated a handful of different things about who they could be:
- Are they a genderbent [REDACTED]? (the person who is seen as the first games antagonist)
- Are they related to [REDACTED] from Part II, further setting up the shows future?
- If they’re tied to one of the factions as rumored, which one? And why?
Exciting stuff to think about really.
Much like Lynskey, Murray Bartlett has come flying in hot from an Emmy award-winning performance in Season 1 of The White Lotus. And they’re playing Frank. This casting is probably some of the most interesting we’ve seen given the background of the character, so it’s fascinating to think of what we’re going to get from them and their story with Bill (played by the always excellent Nick Offerman).
And don’t Google them. Trust me.
Mom and Dad
When fans think of Ellie and Joel, they think of their mocap and voice actors from the original game; Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker. So it’s great to see these two take up roles in the TV series which look to be QUITE provocative. Johnson’s seems to be heavily implying that she’s Ellie’s mother, which will be the cutest reference there ever was, while Baker appears to be part of [READACTED]’s gang which is crucial to the later part of the story. And the role could be one which is important to the events that change Joel and Ellie’s relationship completely.
We were told early in production that the Left Behind DLC for the first game would be mainlined into the show. For players, this part of The Last Of Us took place in a past before Ellie met Joel. But with the TV series, we may just see a lot of things run concurrently with its ability to facilitate a new path. And I’m excited to see what this looks like.
LADS LADS LADS
This doesn’t mean much, it’s just nice to see the larger cordycep enemies finally make an appearance. Meet the Bloater.
Could I dive further into the trailer?
But where’s the fun in that? Grabbing the things they want you to notice is enough, as the countdown to January 16th continues. While the teaser did its job, the official trailer has sent me spiraling into a puddle of excitement with its aesthetic, direction and tone. From how the darkness threatens to envelop everything around our heroes, to the moments where light begins to penetrate and make its way in.
Yes. The Last Of Us may be a story about the self in a time of loss and violence. But it’s about finding the hope in it too.
BONUS: Here’s a gallery of new stills from the upcoming series! Thank you NEON!
HBO’s The Last Of Us is set to screen on NEON in Aotearoa, on January 16th.