Last night, HBO announced the two leads for its upcoming TV adaptation of The Last of Us. Bella Ramsey, known for her work as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, will portray Ellie, and Mandalorian and Wonder Woman 1984 star Pedro Pascal will play Joel.
— Pedro Pascal he/him (@PedroPascal1) February 11, 2021
— Georgie Davies (@_GeorgieDavies) February 11, 2021
Just before the announcements were made, rumors were floating around that Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali had been offered the role of Joel. While this turned out to be false, the initial Hollywood Reporter story that announced Ramsey’s involvement confirmed Ali had been in talks about a role in the show that never came to pass.
The leads are out of the way, but there are still several characters whose actors are still yet to be determined. From Joel’s brother Tommy, to some of the people Joel and Ellie meet on their journey across the country like Sam and Henry or Bill. There’s also the question of whether or not the show will cover the events of The Last of Us’ “Left Behind” DLC, which would require a casting of Ellie’s first love interest Riley.
HBO officially greenlit the show back in November, and it will be more or less a retelling of the original game from 2013. The story follows Joel, a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by a cordyceps fungus infecting humanity, as he travels across the country to deliver Ellie, a teenage girl who seems to be immune, to a resistance group called the Fireflies. While the TV series will follow the original game’s story, the format will likely give it a chance to fill in some blanks. The Last of Us was divided up into seasons, but only focused on a few days before making a hard cut into the next one. So there’s a lot of material to work with. Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann is acting as a co-write for the show alongside Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin.
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While the first season will likely cover the original game, it does leave one to wonder if an adaptation of The Last of Us Part II could follow. It will likely depend on how successful the first season is. If it does come to pass, there will be another round of castings for characters like Abby, Dina, and Lev.