‘The Last of Us’ Showrunner Open to Spin-Offs – ‘In Principle’

HBO’s adaptation of “The Last of Us” scratched the surface on the video-game franchise’s massive world – which will continue to unfold when the drama series eventually returns for its second season.

But outside of Joel and Ellie’s main narrative, which co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have previously said could span across multiple seasons, the pair have not had discussions about the potential for spin-offs that could further expand on the world’s other characters.

“We haven’t talked about that specifically because we’re so focused on just telling this main narrative. I’m not against the idea of other shows that may draw from these characters or that world,” Mazin told TheWrap in an interview in accordance with WGA guidelines and facilitated through his personal publicist. “I don’t know how much more ‘The Last of Us’ I personally would be able to do. I mean, these shows are so big, I’m sort of burning one of the precious few remaining decades I have on telling this story. But in principle, I have no issue with it whatsoever. And I’m sure Neil would be interested as well.”

“If there was something that made sense, then I don’t see why not,” Mazin added. “My great hope is that if there is anything like that, that it’s done with as much care and respect and love as what we are applying to this series right now.”

“The Last of Us” takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel (Pedro Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.

Rounding out the rest of Season 1’s main cast is Gabriel Luna (“True Detective”), who plays Joel’s younger brother and former soldier Tommy; Anna Torv (“Fringe”), who plays a smuggler and fellow hardened survivor Tess; and Merle Dandridge (“The Flight Attendant”), who reprises her role from the video game as resistance leader Marlene.

Guest stars include Nico Parker (“The Third Day”) as Joel’s daughter Sarah; Murray Bartlett (“The White Lotus”) and Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) as Frank and Bill, two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town; Storm Reid (“Euphoria”) as Riley, an orphan in Boston; and Jeffrey Pierce ( “The Last of Us” video games) as Perry, a rebel in a quarantine zone.

Dandridge told TheWrap in March that said she would be open to exploring her character’s background and friendship with Ellie’s mother Anna in a potential spinoff.

“I think honestly, all of the characters are so beautifully and deeply drawn. There is an opportunity in, I think, every facet of this world to go a little deeper and we just touched on that with the Bill and Frank story, but there’s so much,” Dandridge added at the time. “Every character and every situation is so beautifully connected into the fabric and everyone’s experience, even the minor characters, have such difficult moral conundrums that they are contending with in the midst of all this world … what did they have to give up, sacrifice, go through, live through? What have they seen? There are so many unmentionable horrors for them to even be able to survive to this moment that we have a lot of ground to cover and I think HBO knows that and I hope that they lean into that.”

“The Last of Us” has earned a whopping 24 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series. In addition to Mazin and Druckmann, “The Last of Us” is executive produced by Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan and Rose Lam and co-produced by Sony Pictures Television.

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