TV show adaptations of famous video games have a storied history over the years. They can be fantastic (Castlevania, The Witcher) or horrendous (The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Country). While there are high hopes for the upcoming The Last of Us TV show on HBO, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be good.
Series producer Craig Mazin tried to stem those fears on a recent radio interview. Mazin, who wrote and produced the HBO series Chernobyl, appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Chernobyl Special and said his plan for The Last of Us show was to expand on the source material rather than undo what’s already been established.
“I think fans of something worry that, when the property gets licensed to someone else, those people don’t really understand it, or are going to change it,” Mazin said. “In this case, I’m doing it with the guy who did it, and so the changes that we’re making are designed to fill things out and expand, not to undo, but rather to enhance.”
Mazin is working with Neil Druckmann, the writer and creative director of the game, as well as executive producer Carolyn Strauss and Naughty Dog president Evan Wells. Mazin said that it was a “dream come true” to work on the series.
“We’re creating anew, and we’re also reimagining what is already there to present a different format,” he said. “It’s kind of a dream come true for me. I’m a little bit scared because a lot of emotions connected to this game are rather intense. I think I’m probably going to go hide in a bunker for a while because you can’t make everyone happy!”
Chernobyl was a huge hit for HBO and featured a gritty and dark atmosphere seemingly perfect for the apocalyptic world of The Last of Us. The plan is for the series to cover the original game, with the possibility of content from the sequel. Mazin said it was paramount that Druckmann is part of the process.
“Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus,” he said when the TV show was announced in early 2020. “Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honored to do it in partnership with Neil.”