HBO is entering the award season with four strong Outstanding Drama Series Emmy contenders. According to Deadline, this results from the decisions made by HBO Drama Chief Francesca Orsi who has overseen HBO’s drama series for over twenty years.
According to Deadline, she recently gave an interview where she talked about the future of the drama series at HBO since Succession is coming to an end this Sunday. In the interview, she said, “We are really proud of the exciting return of The Last of Us, House of the Dragon, White Lotus, Euphoria and not to mention The Sympathizer, The Regime, True Detective, and The Idol.” It seems like Orsi wants everyone to know that HBO will have no problem filling up the vacuum that Succession will create when it ends since the network has a slew of old and new amazing series to present to the public.
Like all the other studios and networks, HBO has been affected by the Writer’s Strike. One popular series in particular that has been affected by the strike is The Last of Us. The popular show ended its first season in March and was gearing up to start production of the second season. Now, due to the strike writing for the new season has been suspended which could delay the premiere of the new season. When Orsi was asked about the scheduling plans for The Last of Us she said, “[It’s] too early to tell, we were looking at The Last of Us for some time in 2025.” This is reasonable considering the first season came out at the start of 2023 but now, due to the strike, it could be delayed. It all depends on how long the strike lasts.
The Last of Us series was adapted from the video game of the same name by Emmy-winning writer-producer Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, Mythic Quest) and Neil Druckmann (Uncharted: The Lost of Legacy, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End), the writer of the game.
In an interview via Deadline, Orsi was asked about the process of accepting a series based on The Last of Us video game, and how she realized she was getting pitched a zombie show. In response, she said, “Craig didn’t lead with that. While there’s a big entertainment factor that’s tied to the zombie nature of the show and its story, he really focused on the sort of love story, the relationship between Pedro Pascal’s character and Bella Ramsay’s character, Joel and Ellie, and exploring family and the ways in which the surrogate daughter that Ellie becomes to Joel in light of the tragic death of his own biological daughter, is what I think grabbed us most, and it was the profound, deeper exploration of love and family that he was after that had us all leaning in.” And the show kept true to Mazin’s proposal since it makes an effort to focus on the characters and their relationships rather than the zombie-like creatures, to the point where there are episodes where no clickers show up.
As to any news about the second season, Ortis mentioned that they had started to work on “new pieces of casting” but that work had come to a halt due to the strike and that Mazin hadn’t started “in any meaningful way from a writing or casting standpoint” but that both Mazin and Druckman have a good idea of where the second season is going. HBO announced a couple of months ago that the show’s home base was moving to Vancouver from Calgary.
Something that is still in the air is the number of seasons the show will have. Fans of the video game know there are only two games to use as sources for the show. Orsi was asked about this dilemma and she said, “I think Craig and Neil are still figuring out where they’re going to come to an end. We have loosely heard that there will be a Season 3 idea for the series, but at this point, we’re taking it one season at a time.” Considering the success and popularity of the first season, it would be better for HBO to produce more seasons of one of its more successful shows.
The cast of the show includes Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones) as Joel Miller; Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones, Catherine Called Birdy) as Ellie Williams; Merle Dandridge (Station 19, Truth Be Told) as Marlene, a member of the Fireflies; Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City) as Tess Servopoulos; Gabriel Luna (Terminator: Dark Fate, Hala) as Tommy Miller, Joel’s younger brother; Nico Parker (Dumbo, Reminiscence) as Sarah Miller, Joel’s daughter; Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time, Euphoria) as Riley, Ellie’s only friend; Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, Pam & Tommy) as Bill, ally to Joel and Tess; Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus, Welcome to Chippendales) as Frank, Bill’s partner; Scott Shepherd (Bluff City Law, Fugitive Dreams) as David; and Ashley Johnson (Blindspot, Critical Role) as Anna Williams, Ellie’s mother.
The Last Of Us follows the story of the survivors of a fungus infection that causes the collapse of society. The story starts twenty years after the apocalypse and it has the surviving population living in quarantine zones. The story starts when Joel and Tess get asked by Marlene to transport Ellie to the nearest base of Fireflies. After discovering what happened to that base, the end goal changes. It is now Joel’s mission to get Ellie to a safe location so that she can be studied and maybe provide a cure for the fungus infection that has kept most of the population isolated from one another.
The first season of the show is available to stream on Max.