What is the song used in HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ opening theme?

Ellie from The Last of Us Part II
Image via Naughty Dog

Warning: This article contains spoilers from HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ and the PlayStation game

HBO is known for its iconic opening themes, with Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and The Wire having some of the best opening themes of all time. The Last of Us has proved to be no different, with a memorable opening song and title sequence.

A scene from 1968 opens the series, as two experts are debating on a talk show whether a global pandemic could take over the world. They introduce the idea that a fungi species like the Cordyceps could take over humans and act as their hosts, which is the main premise of the series. The opening theme debuts following the interview, so let’s tell you more about it, including where you might have heard the song before.

What is HBO’s The Last of Us’s opening theme song?

If you have played the games on PlayStation, you might recognize the opening theme song of HBO’s The Last of Us. The song is also the opening theme that accompanies the credits of the former. The song is aptly-named “The Last of Us”, written and performed by Gustavo Santaolalla. He also provides the score for the HBO series, and therefore the theme you hear is a truncated version of the source material’s main theme. You can listen to the game’s version of the song above.

The title sequence of the show follows the tendrils that have inflicted the world, as they twist and grow into buildings and forests before warping into smaller versions of Ellie and Joel. In the game, the title sequence was similar, except it was in black and white and it had an emphasis on showing how far the outbreak had spread, complete with voice-over. But, Santaolalla’s theme played nonetheless. 

It is unknown whether we will hear the full version of the theme, although that could be something that they are saving for the final episode of the season. Either way, Santaolalla’s score does help lift the series and help establish the synergy and faithfulness a good adaptation needs. One of the positives of the series is that it feels like the games, and the music, along with the casting and production design, are a major part of that

Tune in to The Last of Us when it debuts on Sundays on HBO Max