The Last of Us: Why is it So Popular?

The word about The Last Of Us, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey is spreading like wildfire, or maybe a cordyceps mushroom pandemic?

Fans of The Last of Us franchise worldwide have been going wild over the new HBO Max show, released on January 15th, 2023, directed by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann and starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Episodes of the show release at 9:00 p.m. every Sunday night. It has gained newfound popularity, despite its origins as a video game. The question is: Why did it get so popular? 

Sophomore Arianne Moelders describes her experience with the show, stating that she hasn’t been a fan for a long time but the show hooked her. She believes the casting is appropriate and that it influenced its popularity. 

The show outlines what the world looks like after a major outbreak of a cordyceps mushroom virus, which takes over the nervous system and brain of the host (essentially a zombie virus). The story follows 57-year-old Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and young 14-year-old Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) on their journey across the country to help provide a cure for the dangerous virus. 

The Last of Us originally started out as a videogame, created by Neil Druckmann and produced by the game company NaughtyDog, released in 2013. Back then, the game was such a small indie game for a long time, no one paid much attention to it. 

Over time, more and more popular YouTubers including JackSepticeye and Markiplier started playing the game, and by 2015, the game reached new heights of popularity. Druckmann saw the popularity grow after he released the second game, The Last Of Us 2 in 2019, and he decided that maybe it was time to make it not only a game series but a franchise

With the help of  “Chernobyl” director and creator Craig Mazin, Druckmann has been able to execute a full 9-episode script plan, with a full cast, even with returning members. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the original voice actors for Joel and Ellie, have returned to join the project, reflecting the care put into the show and its development. 

The show has already been wildly popular among both new fans and old, and its growth is not stopping anytime soon. With the second season being confirmed 12 days after the show’s initial release, there will be much more content from The Last of Us in the works.