By Joshua Wood, tourism/business reporter
Another fictional series set in Wyoming has wrapped video production after being filmed someplace that wasn’t Wyoming.
“The Last of Us”, based on a popular 2013 post-apocalyptic video game, is set partially in Jackson. In the upcoming HBO series, the part of Jackson is played by Canmore, a town in Alberta, Canada.
From the old West to surreal present to grim future, several recent TV series or movies set in the Cowboy State were not filmed here.
The Last of Us
The newest series for HBO Max, set to be released in January 2023, follows two characters—Joel and Ellie—as they make their way across a post-apocalyptic United States. The series is one of the most expensive ever shot in Canada at $15 million per episode, according to The Gauntlet.
In a major plot point of both the series and the videogame, Joel reunites with his younger brother, Tommy, who has established a settlement in Jackson. For the series, the town of Canmore was transformed into the Jackson of a grim future.
Preparation for filming and filming itself took place from November 1 – 21. Canmore residents were also provided the opportunity to be extras on the show during filming.
“Canmore is about to look a lot more like a post-apocalyptic Jackson, Wyoming. HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ is coming to town and will be shooting at various locations within the downtown core throughout November,” wrote the Town of Canmore on its website. “Residents can expect to see aesthetic changes and road closures around the downtown area that will temporarily transform select areas of downtown Canmore into Jackson, Wyoming.”
Last Of Us Is Not The First
“The Last of Us” isn’t the first series based entirely or partially in Wyoming that wasn’t filmed in the state.
The Spectrum Original series “Joe Pickett”, based on the series written by Wyoming author C.J. Box, was filmed in Calgary a little more than an hour from Canmore.
Another popular series, “Yellowstone”, and its prequel “1883” didn’t film in Wyoming. A location scout blamed a lack of film incentives for the decision.
The Amazon Prime series “The Outer Range” takes place in Wyoming, but was filmed in New Mexico and California.
The series “Longmire”, based on the books by Wyoming author Craig Johnson, was also filmed in New Mexico.
Wyoming On Film
Major films in the past have featured Wyoming landscapes, such as Devils Tower in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” or Hell’s Half Acre in “Starship Troopers.” Some of “Starship Troopers” was filmed in the state. In Quinten Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” one of the scenes was filmed near Jackson.
The 2017 movie “Wind River” had a handful of shots in Lander and the Wind River Indian Reservation despite the film being set in Wyoming. The rest of the movie was filmed in Utah.
The movie “Wind River” and series such as “Joe Pickett” and “Yellowstone” being filmed in other locations led a Wyoming legislative committee to study film incentives for the state.
A Wyoming film industry incentive program ended in 2017 and attempts to revive it have been unsuccessful. A bill in 2019 died on its third and final reading and another bill failed introduction earlier this year.