Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us HBO series

Dive Into the World of ‘The Last of Us’ Ahead of the HBO Series Premiere

The Last of Us is a hit video game for a reason and it has everything to do with its plot. There are ways to judge how good a video game is for one reason or another but with The Last of Us, the plot is cinematic in nature. That means fans expect a lot from the live-action series due to premiere on HBO. But if you’re unfamiliar with the game, you might be wondering exactly what the plot of the series is.

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Now, Neil Druckmann has said that the series will differ from the game so we don’t know exactly what is going to happen or how different it’ll be. For the most part, however, the main plot of the game is simple: Joel Miller must get Ellie Williams to the Fireflies, a rebel group fighting to survive in a world plagued by a zombie virus. The objective is easy to understand, but the game has a lot of moving parts—which is what makes it so special.

The first part of the game is the prologue and it tells the story of Joel Miller before the Cordyceps infection takes over. We meet him on his birthday and he’s celebrating with his daughter Sarah when the outbreak happens. They’re rushing to safety and think they’ve found help but in the fear of what is going on, Sarah is shot and killed by a guard, and Joel is left alone with his brother Tommy.

What happens after outbreak day?

So there’s a time jump and then we see what the world is like post-outbreak day. Joel is living in a community strictly controlled by a governing body. He and a close friend, Tess, are planning on leaving when news of Ellie comes to them. Ellie is a young girl bitten by a clicker and yet she hasn’t turned, suggesting she is immune to their bite.

Marlene, the head of the Fireflies, needs Joel and Tess’ help to get her to their lab. In their cross-country adventure, we meet other characters that help both Joel and Ellie along the way. Early on, Tess is bitten, providing extra motivation for Joel to fulfill her final wish: get Ellie to the Fireflies.

What makes the game work is how you meet these other survivors along the way, hear their stories, and see how they’ve survived. Of course, there are also various dangers along the way in the form of diseased humans or more aggressive communities of people trying to survive. Hopefully, the show will explore some of these side missions that fill out the wider world of The Last Of Us.

World-building and delving deep into characters is something HBO does well time and again; just look at Game of Thrones and White Lotus, to name but a few recent successes. There is plenty to unpack along Joel and Ellie’s journey and we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

(featured image: HBO)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.