How long will The Last of Us run? The PlayStation game series it is based on has only two installments, along with some additional material from DLC. Theoretically, a TV show version could spend several seasons adapting just one of the games before moving on to the sequel — or it could take the games as a jumping off point to tell a totally different (and perhaps open-ended) story in a world ruined by a zombie plague.

But that’s not the plan for HBO’s The Last of Us, according to its writers. Series co-creator and writer Craig Mazin told Collider that the first season that is set to debut on HBO and HBO Max later this month adapts the events of the first game The Last of Us. Should the show prove popular enough to merit additional seasons, they would cover the story from The Last of Us Part II.

That game is expansive enough that the TV version could potentially demand more than a single season to adapt it all. And after that ... that would probably be it. Mazin said the show is designed to be “finite” and won’t launch an ongoing tale of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) wandering through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Essentially, according to Mazin, they are making a TV show of the games. And once they tell that story, the show will end. As he put it:

...the story that remains [after Season 1], that continues forth in the work that Naughty Dog’s done on the second game, is a lot. Probably the amount of remaining story would take us more than a season to tell. But definitely, I don’t see this as something that runs on and on and on. We don’t have that ambition. Our ambition is to tell the story that exists, as best as we can, in a different medium.

Mazin noted that this was how the series was originally pitched to HBO; as a show of the games that would take as many episodes as needed to adapt The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II, and that’s it. “Our approach for future seasons [would be] to say, ‘Okay, this will be as many seasons as required to reach that ending, and no more,’” he added.

It sounds like you should prepare yourself for a very faithful version of the games. But if you wanted to see a show about the world beyond the games ... that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. The Last Of Us premieres on HBO and HBO Max on January 15.

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