With HBO’s The Last of Us series, the network has been casting new actors in the roles of Naughty Dog’s video game characters, but at least one star from the games will be returning to play their character in the TV show: Merle Dandridge, who played the leader of the Fireflies rebel group Marlene.
News of this comes from a report out of The Hollywood Reporter, which says Dandridge will be joining Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, who have been cast as co-protagonists Joel and Ellie, respectively. More recently, Gabriel Luna was cast as Tommy, Joel’s younger brother, who was previously part of the Fireflies under Marlene. While the series is an adaptation of the original Last of Us, it will have some episodes and changes that could fill in the spaces of events not depicted in the game. So perhaps this will be a chance to see more of Marlene, who shows up in the bookends of the original story. Perhaps an episode about her own journey across the country? Or maybe some flashbacks to her and Tommy’s time in the Fireflies?
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While it was a smaller appearance in the grand scheme of things, Dandridge reprises her role as Marlene in The Last of Us Part II with a flashback to events before the first game’s ending. The character is a driving force in the first game’s story but doesn’t get a ton of screen time because the focus is on Joel and Ellie. So if the TV show gives her some more scenes, I wouldn’t complain.