A full teaser for HBO’s adaptation of The Last Of Us has been released online – and it looks astonishing. The teaser, which runs for just over a minute and a half delivers. The best callback to The Last Of Us is the music playing over the footage. The haunting ‘Alone and Forsaken’ from Hank Williams, was made famous in the Gamescom 2012 trailer for The Last Of Us. Bringing it back for the adaptation’s teaser is fitting ten years later, and is the perfect way to honour Naughty Dog’s acclaimed classic.
As for the actual footage, it’s best to hold on to your hats. We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. No, there is no footage of the giraffe or the monkeys. Instead, we have to settle for the first exclusive appearance of the dreaded clickers, Joel, Ellie, and Tess fleeing the quarantine zone, infected runners, and a plane falling from the sky. Plus, a whole lot more.
The teaser opens with images of Joel walking through the Boston Quarantine Zone. We can see signs of infection notices and curfew rules. Firefly logos are painted over shop windows, and beyond the quarantine zone, the rain-swept, post-pandemic ruins of the USA tease the scale of what the adaptation will bring. As previously reported by GameLuster, a shorter HBO promo teased Joel and Sarah caught in the chaos of the developing outbreak, whereas this new teaser offers us a little more.
We can see Tommy (Gabriel Luna) at the minute mark for a fraction of a second, and a beat later, Joel with Sarah (Nico Parker). There are flashes of the unfolding chaos as Joel and Ellie flee from the infected and the haunting encounter with a Fedra soldier in a scene that changes Joel’s life forever. It’s easy to miss, despite the scale of what plays out, but a plane falls from the sky onto Joel’s hometown during the early days of the outbreak. Nothing sets the scene in a post-apocalyptic drama series like a plane crash.
Interestingly, it’s a massive deviation from the source material – as this is an event uninspired by the video game. There’s even footage of Joel and Ellie on a hillside looking upon the wreckage of a downed airliner, echoing the first image teased for the series last year. The runners, which in fairness, make rare, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them appearances in the teaser, appear to have crossed over from Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later universe. On the subject of infected threats, we need to talk about clickers.
At the 35-second mark, the teaser reveals the first look at the infected creatures. Known for hunting by sound and putting a new spin on stealth scenarios within the video game, the clickers are every bit as menacing as their video game counterparts. Likewise, the sound design is frighteningly accurate to what you can hear through your headphones. Their silhouette alone is enough to send thrills and chills into fans. Do not be disappointed, for if you pause at the right moment, in the dying moments of the footage, a clicker is revealed in the flesh. All the credit in the world is owed to the prosthetic designers for their efforts. Plus, you wouldn’t want to be caught on the biting end of one of them.
If this isn’t enough, the teaser offers a better look at a wealth of characters lifted from the game. We couldn’t exactly write a full breakdown without discussing our eponymous lead stars. Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) occupy most of the footage. Accompanied by Tess, Joel and Ellie escape the quarantine zone in sewer tunnels to avoid detection from Fedra patrols. Merle Dandridge, who provided voice and motion capture for Marlene in the game, pops up momentarily as she reprises the same role. There’s even a snippet of footage inspired by the Left Behind DLC, with Ellie and Riley (Storm Reid) on a carousel, events set before the main story that leads Ellie to meet the leader of the Fireflies.
There’s a lot to be missed in one viewing of the footage – so it’s crucial to go back for another run to find the other easter eggs. The attention to detail in Joel’s broken watch is painstakingly accurate to the source material. For a beat, Bill (Nick Offerman) can be spotted with a shotgun trained on Joel, while the dreaded military truck hints at the terrifying life-and-death chase from the Pittsburgh sequence. It even has the word run spray painted on its front plough. Finally, the teaser suggests that Ellie’s introduction into the series will differ considerably from her arrival in the video game.
Note the pair of red sneakers and the chains, suggesting Ellie could be a Fedra prisoner. Potentially, Joel and Tess are tasked to break her free and smuggle her out of the city. It would deviate from the source material, but the changes would still fit the story. Regardless, this trailer leaves me making fan-girl noises and cautiously optimistic for one hell of an adaptation when it launches sometime in 2023.