The Last of Us has taken the world by storm with more and more viewers tuning into the new HBO series, based on the beloved video game, each week.
The premise is simple. Joel, a gruff man surviving as best he can in a dystopian society brought on by a pandemic that’s turned normal people into fungi-controlled zombies, must get Ellie to a hideout controlled by the Fireflies in the hope her blood can provide a cure.
Both of these characters have suffered immense tragedy and, through the course of their journey together, learn to rely on the bond they’ve forged albeit begrudgingly at first. Joel’s story in this world, however, starts decades before Ellie’s as he was a single father raising his daughter, Sarah, when the outbreak first happened.
What year did the world go to hell in a hand basket and how long has it been since humanity had some sense of normalcy i.e. not living alongside Infected? Here’s what we know!
What year is The Last of Us set in?
At the beginning of the series, it’s Sept. 26, 2003. Joel’s a contractor who works alongside his brother, Tommy. It’s his birthday and Sarah fixed his watch for him. Considering the events that follow that night, it’s not a good birthday to put it mildly. It’s a tragic one. The premiere then jumps in time, it’s 20 years later, putting the Last of Us series in 2023.
Yes, that means we’re currently living in the same year as the characters in the show. However, due to the decades they’ve lived in a pandemic, their world looks nothing like ours at all. Outside of the QZ, most places look frozen in time and still have that early aughts feel to them, they’re just covered in overgrowth, ivy, dirty, grime, and other substances typically seen on neglected buildings.