86 The Last Of Us Facts For Fans Of Pedro Pascal And Bella Ramsey

Created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, The Last Of Us on HBO is based on the popular 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog. The story is set two decades after a devastating fungal infection ravages society with Joel (played by Pedro Pascal), in the lead as a smuggler entrusted with the mission of escorting Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey), a teenager who is immune to the infection, across a desolate United States. Our The Last Of Us facts include why Bella Ramsey nearly pulled out of Emmy Consideration, why “Zombie” was a banned word on set and why Pedro Pascal forgot he had been cast as Joel.

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The Last of Us is the gripping American post-apocalyptic drama TV series produced by HBO. Created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, it is based on the popular 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog. The story is set two decades after a devastating fungal infection ravages society, turning its victims into zombie-like creatures. The narrative revolves around Joel (played by Pedro Pascal), a smuggler entrusted with the mission of escorting Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey), a teenager who is immune to the infection, across a desolate United States.

The series features notable guest stars, including Nico Parker as Joel's daughter Sarah, Merle Dandridge as resistance leader Marlene, Anna Torv as Joel's partner Tess, Gabriel Luna as Joel's brother Tommy, Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Montreal Woodard as brothers Henry and Sam, and Melanie Lynskey and Jeffrey Pierce as resistance leader Kathleen and her second-in-command Perry.

Our The Last Of Us facts include why Bella Ramsey nearly pulled out of Emmy Consideration, why “Zombie” was a banned word on set and why Pedro Pascal forgot he had been cast as Joel.

1. Filming For The Last Of Us Took Place In Alberta 

Filming for The Last of Us took place in various locations in Alberta from July 2021 to June 2022. 

For the second season, filming is scheduled to take place in British Columbia, particularly in Vancouver. Production is slated to commence in early 2024.

2. HBO’s First Video Game Adaptation

The Last Of Us is HBO's first venture into adapting a video game into a series. The production is a collaboration between Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Naughty Dog, the Mighty Mint, and Word Games. 

Neil Druckmann, the co-director and writer of the original game, worked alongside Craig Mazin in crafting the script for the nine episodes of the first season. The series features a score composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, who also composed music for the game, along with David Fleming.

3. The First Episode Had The Second Highest HBO Viewership Since 2010

The premiere of The Last of Us took place on January 15, 2023. It garnered widespread acclaim from critics, who lauded the performances, writing, production design, and score. Many hailed it as the finest adaptation of a video game to date. The series premiere attracted an audience of 4.7 million viewers across linear channels and HBO Max on its first day, marking the second-highest viewership for HBO since 2010. Within two months, it accumulated nearly 40 million viewers, and by March, the first six episodes averaged over 30 million viewers. In January 2023, the series was officially renewed for a second season.

4. The Last Of Us Was Originally Picked Up In 2014

In March 2014, plans were announced for a film adaptation of Naughty Dog's 2013 video game, The Last of Us. The game's writer and creative director, Neil Druckmann, was set to write the screenplay. However, the film project encountered numerous development challenges and eventually fell into a state of limbo by 2016. By 2019, the partnership had dissolved, and the rights to the adaptation were relinquished.

5. The Last Of Us TV Series Was Only Made BEcause Of Uncharted

During negotiations for a film based on another Naughty Dog game, Uncharted, Druckmann insisted on including specific plot points from The Last of Us. He felt a stronger personal connection to The Last of Us, as he had been involved in its creation and development, unlike Uncharted. Druckmann always aspired to have some involvement in the adaptation of The Last of Us. 

In 2018, Craig Mazin, a writer and director known for his work on the series Chernobyl, was approached by PlayStation Productions to explore potential video game adaptations for television. Mazin was disappointed to learn that The Last of Us was being considered for a film adaptation, as he believed it was better suited for a television format.

6. Craig Mazin Has Played The Last Of Us Video Game 12 Times

Mazin, who had played The Last of Us approximately twelve times and was a fan of the game, was introduced to Druckmann in 2019 through a mutual friend named Shannon Woodward. Druckmann, impressed by Mazin's work on Chernobyl, agreed that The Last of Us would benefit from the length and pacing of a television series. Shortly after their initial meeting, they pitched the series concept to HBO. Despite HBO chairman Casey Bloys and head of drama programming Francesca Orsi being unfamiliar with the game, they trusted Mazin based on his success with Chernobyl and his passion for The Last of Us's story and world.

In March 2020, HBO officially announced that a television adaptation of The Last of Us was in the early planning stages. The series was expected to cover the events of the first game. Mazin and Druckmann were confirmed as the show's writers and executive producers, alongside television producer Carolyn Strauss and Naughty Dog president Evan Wells as executive producers. Gustavo Santaolalla, who had previously worked on the games, was announced as the composer for the show.

7. The Last Of Us Is The Inaugural Production Of PlayStation Productions

The television adaptation is a collaborative effort between Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, and Naughty Dog. It serves as the inaugural production for PlayStation Productions. The project operates under the company name Bear and Pear Productions. In June 2020, Johan Renck, Mazin's collaborator on Chernobyl, was announced as an executive producer and director for the series premiere. However, due to scheduling conflicts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Renck had to withdraw from the project by November.

On November 20, HBO officially greenlit the series. Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan from PlayStation Productions were named executive producers, and Word Games joined as a production company.

8. Kantemir Balagov Left The Last Of Us Because Of “Creative Differences”

In January 2021, the production of The Last of Us series welcomed the involvement of the Mighty Mint, and Kantemir Balagov was announced as the director for the pilot episode. Balagov had been interested in adapting the game for a long time and was initially set to direct multiple opening episodes. However, in October 2022, Balagov revealed that he had left the project a year prior due to creative differences. 

In February 2021, Rose Lam joined as an executive producer. Pre-production began in Calgary, Alberta, on March 15, with Craig Mazin arriving in May. Ali Abbasi and Jasmila Žbanić were announced as directors in April.

9. Neil Druckmann Originally Commuted From Calgary To Los Angeles

Over the course of the production, several directors were assigned to episodes. In July 2021, the Directors Guild of Canada announced Peter Hoar as a director, followed by Mazin in August, Druckmann in September, and Liza Johnson and Jeremy Webb in January 2022. In February, Druckmann confirmed that he directed an episode and expressed how the experience aligned with his background in directing games. 

While Druckmann initially travelled between Calgary and Los Angeles, he later faced difficulties fulfilling his obligations at Naughty Dog and advised the project remotely, confident in Mazin's abilities. 

10. HBO Asked For The First Two Episodes To Be Combined

The original plan for ten episodes was reduced to nine during production, with the first two episodes combined after HBO chairman Casey Bloys felt that the first episode alone would not sufficiently compel viewers to return.

11. The Last Of Us Is The Largest TV Production In Canadian History

The Last of Us is considered the largest television production in Canadian history, expected to generate over CA$200 million in revenue for Alberta. Sources have suggested that the budget ranged between US$10 million and US$15 million per episode, with The New Yorker claiming that the series budget exceeded that of each of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. Calgary film officials believed that Alberta was chosen for production in part due to the government's decision in 2021 to remove the tax credit cap of CA$10 million per project. The production also led to a 30 percent increase in union membership and employment, according to the Canadian artists union IATSE 212.

12. The Last Of Us Part II Is Expected To Span Multiple Seasons

The first season of the series covers the events of the first game and its downloadable expansion, The Last of Us: Left Behind. Druckmann and Mazin have indicated that a second season would immediately delve into the sequel, The Last of Us Part II, to avoid filler content, and it is expected that the events of Part II will span multiple seasons. Mazin has expressed a desire for the series not to overtake the games in terms of storytelling. The writers made sure to stay true to the character developments from Part II in case the show receives further seasons. Less than two weeks after the series premiered, on January 27, 2023, HBO officially renewed The Last of Us for a second season.

13. Casting For The Last Of Us Was Conducted Over Zoom

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the casting process for The Last of Us series was conducted virtually through Zoom. Casting director Victoria Thomas aimed to pay homage to the game while also allowing room for creative interpretation. Thomas and Craig Mazin, the show's creator, sought out high-profile guest stars, noting that many of the actors involved typically do not take on one-episode guest roles.

14. It Was Reported Matthew McConaughey Turned Down Joel

On February 10, 2021, Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were announced as the actors portraying Joel and Ellie, respectively. Earlier that same day, it was reported that Mahershala Ali had been offered the role of Joel after Matthew McConaughey declined, although no deal was ultimately reached. 

15. Maisie Williams Was In The Running To Play Ellie

Actors who were previously considered for Ellie in the cancelled film adaptation, such as Maisie Williams and Kaitlyn Dever, were no longer eligible by the time the series entered production. Therefore, a new pool of candidates was considered. 

16. Pascal And Ramsey Both Worked On Game Of Thrones But Didn’t Meet

The producers were primarily interested in finding actors who could individually embody the characters of Joel and Ellie and accurately portray their dynamic relationship. Although Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey had both appeared on HBO's Game of Thrones, they had not met prior to filming The Last of Us. However, they quickly developed chemistry during production.

Pascal portrayed Oberyn Martell, and Ramsey played Lyanna Mormont.

17. Con O’Neill Was Originally Going To Play Bill

Gabriel Luna's casting as Tommy was announced on April 15, 2021, and Merle Dandridge was confirmed to reprise her role as Marlene from the video games on May 27. 

In May, Classic Casting issued a call for extras from various locations in Canada. 

Nico Parker's casting as Sarah was announced on June 30, followed by the announcements of Jeffrey Pierce, Murray Bartlett, and Con O'Neill as Perry, Frank, and Bill on July 15. Anna Torv's casting as Tess was revealed on July 22. 

On December 5, 2021, Murray Bartlett mentioned that Nick Offerman would also be appearing in a role similar to his, and Offerman's involvement as Bill was officially announced two days later, replacing Con O'Neill due to scheduling conflicts. 

18. The Last Of Us: Part II Casting Was Put On Hold Due To Strikes

According to Variety, casting for the second season was put on hold in May 2023 due to the Writers Guild of America strike.

By February 2023, a writers' room had been established in Los Angeles for the second season, and scripts were being written by April. However, the writing process was interrupted by the writers' strike in May. As a result, no scripts had been completed before the strike began, and neither Mazin nor Druckmann were involved in the series during the strike.

19. Druckmann Called Mazin “Co-Parent” Of The Last Of Us

The Last of Us was written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, with Mazin penning all episodes except the premiere, finale, and seventh episode. Druckmann co-wrote the premiere and finale with Mazin and wrote the seventh episode himself. Druckmann was convinced that Mazin was the perfect creative partner for the series after witnessing his deep passion for the story of the game. He even referred to Mazin as the "co-parent" of the story. 

20. Craig Mazin Compared The Last Of Us To Lawrence Of Arabia

Craig Mazin believed that the series had the potential to redefine the landscape of video game adaptations in film and television due to the strength of its narrative. He likened The Last of Us to the Lawrence of Arabia of video game storytelling and believed that HBO executives would quickly realise its narrative power.

21. Cut Content From The Video Game Made It Into The Show

Neil Druckmann emphasised that the most crucial aspect of adapting the game was preserving its essence, particularly the relationships between the characters. The gameplay and action sequences took a backseat in importance. Mazin stated that the changes made to the story were intended to enrich and expand upon the existing material rather than undo it. The series would avoid episodic storylines or random encounters not present in the original game. Content that had been cut from the game was incorporated into the show, including the story of Ellie's mother, Anna, which Mazin considered beautiful and insisted on including.

22. HBO Asked For A Focus On Character Drama In The Action Scenes

Druckmann explained that while some of the series' scripts borrowed dialogue directly from the game, others deviated from it. At the encouragement of HBO, certain action-heavy sequences from the game were altered to focus more on character drama. Druckmann highlighted the contrast between The Last of Us series and the film adaptation of Uncharted (2022). While Uncharted tells a new story with elements from the games to maintain the "Uncharted flavour," The Last of Us is a closer adaptation, allowing for alterations such as changing character perspectives, which wouldn't be feasible in an immersive game.

23. Neil Druckmann Felt Disconnected From The Characters In The TV Show

Unlike the process of creating the games, Neil Druckmann felt that he was able to disconnect from the characters while writing the show. The immersive nature of video games made it challenging to separate himself from them during game development. The writers saw the series as an opportunity to explore the backstories of characters who may have been overlooked in the game, enabling them to better understand their motivations.

24. The Date Of The Outbreak Was Changed To Be 2023

In the game, the outbreak occurs in 2013, with the post-apocalyptic story taking place in 2033. However, for the series, they decided to set the outbreak in 2003 and the post-apocalyptic events in 2023. This change was driven by the writers' belief that having the story unfold concurrently with the show's release would make it more engaging and relatable, while still preserving the core essence of the original story.

25. Writers Included The Outbreak’s Origins Due To Audiences Experiences With COVID19

To ground the narrative, the writers introduced the origins of the outbreak in the series. Drawing from their recognition that audiences now have a greater understanding of viral pandemics following the COVID-19 pandemic, they felt it was important to include this context. 

26. Why Did The Last Of Us Start With A 1960s Talk Show?

Inspired by the writing approach he used in Chernobyl, Craig Mazin crafted the series with a fictional 1960s talk show segment that explains the origins of a fungal infection, hinting that humanity had been aware of the potential risk for some time. 

27. Spores Were Replaced By Tendrils

The production made changes to the way the infection spreads, replacing spores with tendrils that form a unified, interconnected network inspired by the concept of mycelium. This decision was driven by the writers' belief that the gas masks and spores from the game did not translate effectively to the television medium and that the interconnected network added increased tension to the story. 

28. The Fungal Infection Was Inspired By Jellyfish Stings

The visual representation of the fungal infection was inspired by jellyfish stings, which Jasmila Žbanić shared with Mazin during the preproduction phase. 

29. The Last Of Us Writers Did Not Want To Create A Zombie Show

It was important for The Last Of Us writers to avoid creating "a zombie show" and instead view the infected creatures as a means to pressure the characters into making compelling decisions and revealing their true selves.

30. 115 People Scouted And Transformed Over 180 Locations

Supervising location manager Jason Nolan commenced preparations for The Last Of Us in January 2021, leading a team of 115 people who scouted and transformed over 180 locations. 

31. 2-3 Pages Of Script Were Filmed Each Day

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Last Of Us cast and crew underwent a two-week quarantine upon entering Canada to ensure everyone's safety. The series had an extensive filming schedule, spanning 200 days, with each episode allotted around 18-19 filming days, translating to approximately 2-3 pages of script per day.

32. High River And Fort Macleod Were Used For Austin, Texas

Principal photography began in Calgary, Alberta, on July 12, slightly delayed from the original schedule. The production then moved to High River and Fort Macleod throughout the month, recreating the atmosphere of Austin, Texas, for the first episode. 

33. CA$372,000 Was Allocated To Shoot In Edmonton

In the October, the production allocated approximately CA$372,000 for a four-day shoot in Downtown Edmonton, which included prominent locations such as Rice Howard Way and the Alberta Legislature Building. 

34. Canmore, Alberta Replicated Jackson, Wyoming

The production later travelled to Canmore, Alberta, in November, replicating the setting of Jackson, Wyoming. 

During March, Calgary was used to replicate the setting of Kansas City, Missouri. The production remained in Calgary for filming in April and May, with locations including the Calgary Courts Centre, Kensington, and Victoria Park. Reshoots for scenes set in Texas took place in Olds in late May and early June, followed by additional filming in High River in June. Production wrapped in the early hours of June 11, two days later than initially planned. In October, additional photography was conducted in Kansas City.

35. Northland Village Mall In Calgary Was Used For The Memorable Mall Scenes

In January 2022, Northland Village Mall in northwest Calgary underwent set decoration for the series. Filming then took place in Okotoks and Waterton Lakes National Park in February, capturing the desired locations for the story. 

36. Airport Trail Was Closed For Three Days

In March, Airport Trail in northeast Calgary had closures for three days to accommodate filming. Jeremy Webb's episodes went into production in March 2022 and continued until the conclusion of principal photography in June. 

37. Gustavo Santaolalla Composed The Opening Theme

The score for the television series was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla and David Fleming. Santaolalla, who also wrote the opening theme, drew on his experiences in film and television, having previously composed music for shows like Jane the Virgin and Making a Murderer. He incorporated elements of his previous work, focusing on aspects that he found interesting. 

David Fleming, on the other hand, took inspiration from real-world sounds within a decaying civilization to craft his compositions. The series' soundtrack album, featuring 66 tracks, was digitally released on February 27.

The Clicker sound in the show is created by the same two actors who provided the male and female Clicker voices in the video game.

38. Some Well Known Songs Were Used To Enhance Storytelling

Throughout the series, carefully selected songs were used to enhance the storytelling. In the first episode, songs like "Tomorrow" by Avril Lavigne and "White Flag" by Dido were utilised to foreshadow Sarah's fate and contribute to Joel's character development. The final scene and credits of the episode featured "Never Let Me Down Again" by Depeche Mode, chosen by Mazin for its combination of upbeat sounds and dark lyrics. The song made a return in the sixth episode, performed by Mazin's daughter Jessica, to convey Ellie's feeling of disappointment in Joel.

In the third episode, "Long, Long Time" by Linda Ronstadt was used, echoing the themes of unfulfilled love and the healing power of time, which resonated with Bill and Frank's relationship. The episode's broadcast resulted in a significant increase in streams for the song, drawing comparisons to the resurgence of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" after its inclusion in Stranger Things Season 4.

In the seventh episode, "All or None" by Pearl Jam represents Ellie's feelings of loneliness and discomfort. The episode also reuses Etta James's version of "I Got You Babe" from The Last of Us: Left Behind, using its romantic lyrics hidden beneath joyous music to mirror the emotions of Ellie and Riley. Additionally, A-ha's "Take On Me" is utilised to reflect their evolving relationship and illustrate Ellie's personal journey. A cover version of "Take On Me" was featured in a trailer for the series, and Ellie performs the song in The Last of Us Part II.

39. There Is A Hank Williams Connection

The title of the fourth episode refers to the lyrics of "Alone and Forsaken" by Hank Williams, which is featured in the episode. The song had been used in the original game and its trailers, as well as in a trailer for the television series. 

40. The Costume Team Had Around 30 Duplicates Of Each Outfit

Costume designer Cynthia Ann Summers faced unique challenges in creating outfits that seamlessly integrated into The Last Of Us’ story without drawing too much attention. She paid careful attention to Joel's costumes, ensuring they reflected his character's lack of concern for fashion while incorporating specific colours as requested by Mazin. Summers had around 30 duplicates of each outfit to account for various factors such as blood and dirt progression, stunt doubles, and backup costumes.

The breakdown department, led by Sage Lovett, was responsible for distressing and modifying costumes to align with the story's requirements. At Mazin's request, Summers and her team focused on incorporating minor details that enhanced the apocalyptic setting, such as using shoelaces instead of belts. Both Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were content wearing regular outfits for the series, as they had previous experience working on science-fiction and period pieces.

41. Boston Had To Be Built Near Stampede Park, Lincoln

Production designer John Paino drew inspiration from the video game but primarily focused on references used by Naughty Dog during the game's development. He created an image collage that represented the show's mandate of an ever-changing built world. Paino discovered that several Canadian towns shared architectural similarities with their American counterparts, particularly Texas. However, finding empty and abandoned buildings or locations that resembled Boston's brick-lined streets proved challenging for the first two episodes, necessitating manual transformations and constructions. Paino and his team meticulously crafted the Boston quarantine zone near Stampede Park, the town of Lincoln, and the Kansas City cul-de-sac, investing several weeks of work into each set.

42. The Prosthetic Team Aimed To Not Create Zombies

Prosthetic designers Barrie and Sarah Gower, who had previously collaborated with Mazin on Chernobyl, were responsible for creating the prosthetics for the infected characters. Barrie Gower appreciated that the series departed from the stereotypical zombie appearance and instead focused on unique characteristics. 

The production team curated a comprehensive reference library of textures, colours, and organic materials like fuzz, slime mould, and mushrooms. Mazin insisted on maintaining the in-game design of the clickers through practical prosthetics, prioritising their visual impact over the use of visual effects. The original concept art from the game served as a constant reference point for the prosthetic team. 

43. 70 Artists Applied The Prosthetics In Episode 5

For the fifth episode, approximately 70 actors portrayed the infected mob, and 70 artists applied prosthetics to around 30 individuals during each three-hour shift. 

44. The Bloater Suit Weight 40kg

The bloater suit, weighing 40 kilograms (88 lb), was coated with a gel-like liquid during filming to create a wet and reflective appearance. The series' choreography was handled by Paul Becker and Terry Notary, who aimed to mimic the coordinated movements of schools of fish for the creatures. Notary even organised a boot camp to prepare the actors for their roles in the fifth episode. Voice actors Misty Lee and Phillip Kovats, who had previously worked on the games, returned to provide the voices for the clickers in the series.

45. There Were 250 Special Effects Shots Per Episode

The series boasted an impressive line-up of sixteen visual effects teams, overseen by Alex Wang. With over 3,000 visual effects shots, the season demanded extensive visual effects work, averaging around 250 shots per episode! 

The talented 650-person team at DNEG dedicated 18 months to working on 535 shots, primarily focusing on environmental effects for key locations such as Boston, Kansas City, Jackson, and Salt Lake City. The team conducted field trips for resource gathering and consistently referenced the video games during the process. Naughty Dog's concept artists provided valuable input for the creation of the infected, and timelapse videos of Cordyceps growth served as animation references for the visual effects teams. 

All studios collaborated on the action sequence in the fifth episode, which comprised approximately 350 to 400 visual effects shots. Wētā FX handled the creation of the infected effects, digitally adding 50 to 70 creatures to the horde. 

46. The Opening Titles Depict The “Unrelenting Nature Of Fungus”

The show's title sequence, created by design studio Elastic, aimed to depict the "unrelenting nature" of the fungus. Creative directors Andy Hall and Nadia Tzuo extensively researched fungi to ensure an accurate portrayal of its movement and appearance. They pitched multiple ideas to Mazin and Druckmann before settling on a realistic depiction that showcased the fungus's simultaneous beauty and destructive nature, a concept that resonated with Mazin.

47. A Red Carpet Premiere Was Held In Westwood Los Angeles

The first episode had its red carpet world premiere in Westwood, Los Angeles, on January 9, followed by theatre screenings in Budapest and Sydney on January 11, and New York City on January 12th 2023. 

The premiere event in January 2023 took place at the Angelika Film Center in Manhattan, where HBO and advertising agency Giant Spoon recreated items from 2003, the year in which the series is set. The premiere screenings were attended by 1,500 people across seven showings, and attendees were gifted wearable Firefly pendants.

48. The Last Of Us Had A Lot Of Behind The Scenes Content

Behind-the-scenes videos titled "Inside the Episode" were released on HBO Max and YouTube after each episode, providing viewers with a deeper look into the making of the series. Naughty Dog also released "Building The Last of Us," a special feature showcasing interviews with the cast and crew from both the series and the games. The first season is scheduled for release digitally and on DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on July 17 and in the United States on July 18. The release includes behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a short film about adapting the game, a conversation with experts in microbiology and parasitology, and the "Inside the Episode" series.

49. The Last Of Us: Part II Will Hopefully Air In 2025

HBO had initially considered airing the second season in 2025, as stated by Francesca Orsi, but the potential delay caused by the writers' strike may alter those plans.

50. The Last Of Us Marketing Was Using “Breadcrumbing”

The marketing campaign for The Last of Us employed a strategy of "breadcrumb content," using small teases to keep audiences engaged. Emily Giannusa, HBO's vice president of marketing, initially planned promotional material that featured comparisons to the game and endorsements from Naughty Dog to demonstrate the faithfulness to the source material. However, they discovered that such efforts were unnecessary as fans themselves created and shared their own content showcasing the series.

  • On September 26th 2021, HBO shared the first image of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in costume, creating anticipation among fans. 

  • The first still frame from the series was revealed at Summer Game Fest on June 10, 2022. 

  • The first footage of the show was unveiled in a trailer on HBO Max during the premiere of House of the Dragon on August 21, featuring glimpses of Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Nico Parker, and Nick Offerman. 

51. The First Teaser Trailer Was The Most Watched Promotional Video From HBO

The first teaser trailer for the show was released on September 26, 2022, coinciding with The Last of Us Day. It showcased the first footage of Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, Anna Torv, and Murray Bartlett, while also confirming Melanie Lynskey's casting. 

Accompanied by Hank Williams' "Alone and Forsaken," the teaser quickly garnered immense attention, accumulating over 17 million views across Twitter and YouTube in less than 24 hours and amassing over 57 million organic views within its first 72 hours. It became the most-watched promotional video in HBO's history, surpassing House of the Dragon by 50 percent. 

Additionally, a short clip featuring Joel and Ellie hiding from a clicker was released on November 16 as a teaser for the show's appearance at CCXP the following month. On November 30, eleven character posters were unveiled, further heightening anticipation among fans.

52. Non-Gaming Influencers Were Used To Create A Buzz Around The Last Of Us

The marketing team conducted social listening to identify non-gaming influencers who were interested in the series, resulting in partnerships with celebrities like actress Felicia Day and rapper Logic. Custom clothing and merchandise were sent to fans and influencers who expressed excitement about the show. Giannusa, drawing from their experience with Game of Thrones and its fandom, emphasised promotion that centred around the audience and embraced "authentic marketing," which necessitates flexibility based on audience reactions. Druckmann also assisted in endorsing social and pre-release content.

53. HBO Latin America Built A Fictional Boston Museum At CCXP

Dandridge, Druckmann, Luna, Mazin, Pascal, and Ramsey participated in a panel at CCXP on December 3, where they unveiled the first full trailer for the series. The trailer generated significant discussion and marked a pivotal moment in the promotional campaign as it attracted audiences who were unfamiliar with the games. 

HBO Latin America created a captivating display at the CCXP convention, featuring an overgrown version of the fictional Boston Museum, complete with clickers and hidden Easter eggs. This inspired similar installations at premiere events in London, Los Angeles, and New York, utilising 3D scans of the infected creatures provided by Barrie Gower. 

HBO announced a companion podcast would air alongside the series, featuring discussions with Mazin and Druckmann. 

54. Snapchat Had Post Apocalyptic Filters To Launch The Series

HBO implemented various virtual marketing strategies for the series, including a Snapchat lens that added post-apocalyptic overgrowth to famous landmarks worldwide, such as Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Storting building. 

Google also joined in with an Easter egg that added mushrooms to the screen when searching for The Last of Us or Cordyceps.

55. The Last Of Us’ Release Coincided With Season 3 Of The Mandalorian

The release of The Last of Us coincided with the promotion and release of the third season of The Mandalorian. A good time for fans of Pedro Pascal but each series would have helped promote the other.

Due to HBO's priority on The Last of Us, Pascal had to allocate his time accordingly, resulting in him missing some of the principal photography for The Mandalorian Season 3.

56. The Last Of Us Has An Approval Rating Of 96%

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Last of Us has an approval rating of 96% based on 468 reviews, with an average rating of 8.75/10. The website's general consensus describes it as binge worthy TV that retains the addictive qualities of the beloved video game while delving deeper into the story. It is also hailed as one of the greatest video game adaptations of all time. 

Metacritic also indicates "universal acclaim," with an average score of 84 out of 100 based on 43 reviews.

57. Pedro Pascal And Bella Ramsey’s Performances Were Well Loved

The performances of the cast received widespread acclaim, with particular praise directed towards the chemistry between Pascal and Ramsey. Critics noted that they stole every scene they were in, with their performances being described as compulsively watchable and endearing. 

Pascal's portrayal of Joel was hailed as the best of his career, showcasing nuance and vulnerability that resonated with audiences. Ramsey's portrayal of Ellie was regarded as a breakout performance, skillfully balancing comedy and emotion, and making their mark on the iconic character. Their performance in the seventh episode was highlighted as especially strong.

58. The Last Of Us 1.1 Was Steamed 223 Million Minutes In The First 3 Hours

Within its first three hours, the first episode of The Last Of Us was streamed for a total of 223 million minutes. The viewership continued to climb, reaching over 10 million viewers after two days, 18 million after a week, 22 million within twelve days, and nearly 40 million within two months. In Latin America, the series premiere became the biggest debut ever for HBO Max in the region.

The second episode saw a significant increase in viewership, with 5.7 million viewers on its first night, marking a 22 percent growth from the previous week. This became the largest second-week audience growth for an original HBO drama series in the network's history. During the week of January 16 to 22, the series streamed for 837 million minutes, ranking sixth for the week and surpassing the viewership of House of the Dragon's first two episodes in the same timeframe. It maintained its position in the sixth spot the following week with 877 million minutes. By January 31, the first two episodes averaged 21.3 million viewers.

The series also broke HBO's subscription video on demand viewer ratings in Europe and became the most-watched show on HBO Max in Europe and Latin America. By May, the series averaged nearly 32 million viewers per episode in the United States.

59. The Last Of Us Video Game Had Renewed Popularity

The release of The Last of Us series had a positive impact on the sales of the video games. Following the premiere, there was an increase in sales for The Last of Us Part I and Part II. In January, The Last of Us Part I ranked eighth in terms of downloads for PlayStation 5 in North America and tenth in Europe. On PlayStation 4, The Last of Us Part II ranked seventh in both regions, while The Last of Us Remastered ranked thirteenth in North America and fifteenth in Europe. In February, the rankings improved, with Part I rising to sixth in North America and seventh in Europe, Remastered reaching ninth and seventh, respectively, and Part II taking the top spot in both regions.

In the United Kingdom, sales of Remastered increased by 337 percent and The Last of Us Part I by 305 percent in the week following the series premiere. Both games reentered the charts as a result. The following week, Part I saw another 32 percent increase at retail, and Remastered had a 27 percent increase. Overall, Part II sales increased by 317 percent, and Remastered sales increased by 285 percent for the month. In the United States, Part I reentered the charts in January, ranking 11th and climbing 25 positions from the previous month.

60. Bella Ramsey, Who Is Non-Binary, Almost Withdrew From Emmy Consideration

The Last of Us led the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards with three wins, including Best Show. It also received the most nominations at the 39th TCA Awards, earning five nominations, including Program of the Year and Individual Achievement in Drama for Pascal and Ramsey. 

In April 2023, HBO confirmed that episodes one and three would be submitted for consideration in the Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (One Hour) category at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards. Ramsey, who identifies as non-binary, considered withdrawing from Emmy consideration due to the lack of non-gendered categories. Following discussions with Mazin, Ramsey decided to contend for the Lead Actress category, as they did not want limited language to hinder the celebration of non-binary performers.

61. Bella Ramsey Was 17 When She Played 14 Year Old Ellie

Bella Ramsey, who was 17 when first cast as 14-year-old Ellie in The Last of Us, convincingly portrays the character's youthful appearance. At the time of filming, Ramsey was 19, but her ability to embody a younger character was widely praised. This casting choice is also justified by the fact that future seasons of the show will adapt the second game, where Ellie is depicted as 19 years old.

62. Pedro Pascal Watched His Nephew Play The Last Of Us To Prepare

Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel in the series, is not a gamer himself. To familiarise himself with the character, he watched his nephew play the beginning of the first game since he lacked the skill to play it himself. Pascal found Joel to be an impressive character but opted not to imitate the games too closely. Instead, he aimed to create a healthy distance and trusted the showrunners to shape the character's portrayal.

63. Pedro Pascal’s Third Role In Science Fiction Drama

The Last of Us marks Pedro Pascal's third role in a science fiction drama, following his appearances in "Prospect" and "The Mandalorian." In all three projects, Pascal portrays the older half of a man/child duo.

64. “Zombie” Was A Banned Word On Set

Although the Infected in The Last of Us, often referred to as "clickers" and "bloaters," may resemble zombies, the crew and fans refrain from using that term on set. Cinematographer Eben Bolter stated that the word "zombie" was banned on set. 

The focus of the show is not solely on the Infected but rather on the characters and their journey. The mislabeling of the show as a "zombie show" by some viewers unfamiliar with the game has been addressed by the crew.

65. The Original Tess, Annie Wersching, Passed Away

Annie Wersching, who voices Tess in the video game, sadly passed away from cancer on the eve of the airing of Season 1, Episode 3. She was 45 years old.

66. 105 Actors Were Considered For The Role Of Ellie

Approximately 105 actors were considered for the role of Ellie, as the producers were seeking someone who could portray a resourceful, quirky, and potentially violent character. After watching Bella Ramsey's audition tape, they consulted with Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who assured them of Ramsey's talent. Ramsey was cast less than a month after her audition and received the news while working on another project. 

Ramsey expressed that being part of The Last of Us feels like the biggest endeavour they have undertaken and found comfort in knowing that Pedro Pascal would be by their side throughout the experience. 

67. Ramsey Was Told Not To Play The Last Of Us Video Game

Ramsey was aware of the game before auditioning but was encouraged not to play it to avoid replicating the original performance. Instead, they watched gameplay footage on YouTube to gain a sense of the game's atmosphere. Ramsey had not played the game even after completing filming for the series but aimed to deliver a performance that paid homage to the games without simply copying them.

68. Bella Ramsey Doesn’t Care For LGBTQIA+ Haters

In response to haters of LGBTQIA+ storylines, Bella Ramsey addressed the criticism by stating, "I know people will think what they want to think. They will have to get used to it. If you don't want to watch the show because it has a gay storyline, because it has a trans character, it's your fault, and you're missing out on something."

When her casting was announced, Bella Ramsey made a decision not to read social media comments, as it was their first experience with a lot of negative reactions. They expressed their awareness of the criticism but chose to avoid engaging with it.

69. Bella Ramsey Cut 15 Inches Off Her Hair To Play Ellie

To accurately portray Ellie in The Last Of Us, Bella Ramsey cut off fifteen inches of her hair.

During production, Bella Ramsey also wore a chest binder for 90 percent of the filming to help her get into character and concentrate on set. 

70. Carrie-Anne Moss Was Considered For Tess

Carrie-Anne Moss was under consideration for the role of Tess before Anna Torv was ultimately cast.

71. China Anne McClain Was Considered For Riley

China Anne McClain was a potential candidate for the role of Riley before Storm Reid was eventually cast.

72. Chris Pine, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Chris Pratt Were Considered For Tommy

Chris Pine, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Chris Pratt were among the actors considered for the role of Tommy Miller before Gabriel Luna was chosen.

73. Joel’s Family Do Not Eat Any Food With Flour In 

In the first episode, observant viewers noticed that the Miller family, particularly Joel, unconsciously avoided consuming food with flour on the day of the outbreak. Later on, it is revealed that the theory of fungus spreading through infected flour is adopted by the characters. 

The second episode further supports this theory, as one of the first infected individuals worked at a flour and grain factory. 

In the third episode, Joel mentions that the prevailing belief is that the outbreak started when the fungus contaminated a key food ingredient that was distributed worldwide around the same time.

74. The Last Of Us TV Series Is More Diverse Than The Video Game

Although the characters Joel, Tommy, and Sarah were depicted as Caucasian in the video game, they are portrayed by Pedro Pascal (Chilean-American), Gabriel Luna (Mexican-American), and Nico Parker (Zimbabwean-English) respectively in the TV show. Similarly, Maria, who was also depicted as Caucasian in the game, is played by African-American actress Rutina Wesley in the series.

75. Many The Last Of Us Video Game Actors Had Roles In The Series

Several actors from the video games made appearances in the TV series. Merle Dandridge reprised her role as Marlene, Ashley Johnson, who played Ellie Williams in the games, portrayed Anna in the series, Troy Baker, who played Joel Miller in the games, portrayed James, a secondary character from the original game who is a member of the survivor group run by David. Jeffrey Pierce, who portrayed Joel's brother Tommy in the games, also appeared in the show as the new character Perry. Additionally, Laura Bailey, known for her portrayal of Abby in the game's sequels, made a cameo in the first season finale as a Firefly nurse named Kari.

76. Brazil Accounted For Over 50% Of Online Engagement With The Last Of Us

HBO Max noted that Brazil accounted for over 50% of all online engagement and social media posts related to the series. This was likely influenced by the highly acclaimed Brazilian dubs of the games, as the Brazilian voice actors returned for the TV series.

77. Viewers Noticed Similarities In The COVID19 Pandemic With The Last Of Us

Many viewers have noticed the parallels between the show and the real-life COVID-19 pandemic. Ellie's line about the government's failure to prevent a pandemic resonates with people's views on how governments have handled the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in some parts of the world in 2023.

78. Much Of The Science In The Last Of Us Is Accurate

In the opening narration by John Hannah, it is mentioned that fungal cures and vaccines are nonexistent, with vaccines being particularly challenging due to the complexities of the immune response to fungi. This is accurate information as confirmed by Professor Neal Ar Gow, co-editor of the Oxford Textbook of Medical Mycology. The mention of Global Warming leading to the spread of deadly fungi worldwide is also accurate in the case of Batrachochytrium, which has caused devastation among amphibian species.

79. Nico Parker Was Concerned About Portraying Sarah’s Death

Nico Parker had watched videos of the game years prior to getting the role of Sarah. She intentionally avoided replicating the game version and aimed to bring her own interpretation to the character. Portraying Sarah's death was a daunting task for Parker due to its impact in the game. Pedro Pascal felt an immediate connection with Parker and they formed a strong bond while filming their scenes together.

80. Pedro Pascal Based Joel’s Voice On His Own Experiences

Pedro Pascal based Joel's voice on his own experiences growing up in San Antonio, Texas, toning it down from the Southern accent used in the game.

Both Pedro Pascal and Gabriel Luna, who portrays Tommy, have connections to Texas. Pascal grew up in Texas, similar to Joel Miller's background, and Luna was born and raised there. Troy Baker, the original actor for Joel, also hails from Texas.

81. Pedro Pascal Forgot He Was Cast In The Role Of Joel

In interviews, Pedro Pascal stated he really wanted the role of Joel in The Last Of Us and he accepted the role within 24 hours. He later spoke of taking a sleeping tablet the night he accepted the role and woke up hoping he had been selected before realising some time later he had already accepted!

82. Pedro Pascal Knows What Happens To Joel In Part II Of The Last Of Us

Pedro Pascal mentioned in an interview at the premiere of "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" that he already knew what happens to Joel in "The Last of Us Part II," but he was unsure if the TV show would follow the same storyline.

83. Pedro Pascal Is 10 Years Older Than Joel

In the first season, 46-year-old Pedro Pascal portrays the character of Joel, who is 56 years old.

84. The Fireflies Were A Real Resistance Group

The resistance group against FEDRA in the show refers to themselves as the Fireflies. This name draws inspiration from a historical resistance group during the revolt against King Charles III in 9th century France, who also called themselves the fireflies. They used the image of a firefly to mark important locations like safehouses, choosing a symbol that was distinct but easily overlooked by those unfamiliar with its meaning.

85. The Last Of Us Has A Large Indonesian Following

The show gained significant traction on Indonesian social media due to the opening scene of the second episode set in Jakarta, which is depicted as the initial epicentre of the pandemic. The scene also featured Christine Hakim, one of Indonesia's renowned actresses, and showcased well-researched portrayals of Indonesia in the early 2000s.

86. The Last Of Us Titles Form A Message

The titles of the first and last episodes of The Last Of Us' first season combine to form the message, "When you're lost in the darkness, look for the light."

The Last Of Us Facts - 86 The Last Of Us Facts For Fans Of Pedro Pascal And Bella Ramsey

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