10 Million Fireflies

How to watch The Last of Us: HBO’s next mega-hit is finally here

Joel and Ellie's post-apocalyptic trek through the wilderness begins.

The wait is nearly over. After much hype and fan-fueled expectation, the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of the beloved video game The Last of Us kicks off soon on HBO and HBO Max.

Based on the Naughty Dog title first released on the PlayStation 3 a decade ago, The Last of Us drops audiences into a post-apocalyptic United States where civilization has been ravaged by a mutant strain of the Cordyceps fungus that transforms infected humans into zombie-like cannibalistic creatures. HBO and the show’s creators (Craig Mazin of Chernobyl acclaim and Neil Druckmann, the original writer and co-director of the game) will hope to avoid the typical problems with video game adaptations — and initial reviews of the big-budget series agree the network has another blockbuster genre hit on its hands that will more than satisfy diehard fans and new viewers alike.

Ahead of the premiere of The Last of Us, here’s everything you need to know about the series, from its release date and time to its cast, plot, and more.

When is the release date for The Last of Us?

The Last of Us premieres on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, January 15, 2023.

What is the release time for The Last of Us?

Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us.HBO

The Last of Us airs at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO and HBO Max each week on Sunday.

How many episodes are in The Last of Us?

The Last of Us Season 1 will feature nine episodes in total.

What is the plot of The Last of Us?

HBO’s Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalypse version of our present-day 2023.HBO

Set in an alternate-reality of our present-day 2023, The Last of Us chronicles events taking place 20 years after a toxic parasitic fungus broke out and infected the human race, turning people who inhale the mutant spores into the Infected. In hopes of finding a cure, a hardened survivor-turned-smuggler named Joel is tasked with escorting teenage Ellie, who is seemingly immune to the fungus, out of a totalitarian military-controlled zone and across the country.

Their perilous journey through a harsh post-apocalyptic landscape oscillates between heartwarming and heart-racing as the duo encounters hostile humans and monstrous creatures alike. They also learn just how deep emotional ties can build between found family.

The 80-minute premiere episode is entitled “When You're Lost in the Darkness.”

Who is in the cast for The Last of Us?

Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) plays protagonist Ellie.HBO

The Last of Us stars Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) as Joel Miller, and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) as Ellie Williams. Alongside that central duo, the show features:

  • Anna Torv (Mindhunter) as Joel's partner and fellow smuggler Tess Servopoulos
  • Gabriel Luna (Terminator: Dark Fate) as Joel's younger brother, Tommy Miller
  • Nico Parker (Dumbo) as Joel’s daughter, Sarah Miller
  • Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation) as isolated survivalist Frank
  • Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus) as Bill’s partner, Frank
  • Storm Reid (Euphoria) as Ellie’s best friend, Riley Abel
  • Merle Dandridge (original voice actor in the video games) as head of the Fireflies Militia, Marlene
  • Lamar Johnson (The Hate U Give) as young refugee Henry
  • Keivonn Woodard as Henry’s younger brother, Sam

In addition to characters that appeared in the video game series, the show will feature new ones, too, including Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets) as ruthless revolutionary leader Kathleen and Elain Miles (Northern Exposure) and Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves) as married survivors Florence and Marlon. Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Jeffery Pierce, the video game voice actors for Joel, Ellie, and Tommy, respectively, are also set to appear in the TV series.

Is there a trailer for The Last of Us?

Yes, HBO delivered the official trailer on December 3, 2022. It details snapshots of the treacherous journey that lies ahead for Ellie and Joel as they traverse through sprawling abandoned ghost cities, snow-covered wilderness, dangerous militarized zones, and their rocky relationship. The trailer foreshadows the threats that await them during their fight for survival from ruthless monsters, both human and ex-human, offering a glimpse of the series’ nightmarish creatures, called “Clickers.”

Will there be a The Last of Us Season 2?

Though nothing has been officially confirmed, there likely will be a Season 2 of The Last of Us. Showrunners Druckmann and Mazin have hinted that if Season 1 performs well, the show will go on, given that there is more of the video game series’ plot to adapt. That being said, Druckmann did tell The Hollywood Reporter that they aren’t looking to expand the story beyond what exists in the games, meaning (currently) The Last of Us Part I and Part II. There have been rumors, however, that a Part III is in development.

Until then, restless fans can turn to the TV version of The Last of Us, which premieres on Sunday night.