Original The Last of Us stars join HBO series as first-look photo drops
You can't divorce The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II from the stellar voice and motion-capture performances delivered by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, the actors who breathed life into characters Joel and Ellie. So, you can bet they will have a part to play in the live-action TV series adaptation on HBO.
After months of speculation, Baker and Johnson are now officially confirmed to join the cast of The Last of Us.
Details are under wraps, but they are confirmed for "major roles," according to Sony, which made the announcement Thursday among multiple other updates to all the Last of Us properties being developed.
Those developments also include a first-look image of The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal as Joel in the adaptation and his fellow Game of Thrones veteran Bella Ramsey as Ellie.
Showrunner Craig Mazin tweeted of the Baker and Johnson reveal, "They sure f—ing do! And boy howdy…. they are both [mind-blowing]."
In 2014, Baker won a Spike Video Game Award for Best Voice Actor for his performance in the first game as Joel, a grizzled man with a scarred past trying to get by in an American quarantine zone years after a fungal plague decimated the human population. Johnson also won Best Voice Actress for playing Ellie, a mysterious young girl Joel is tasked with smuggling out of their militarized compound. A small mission quickly balloons into a fated journey across what's left of the country.
Johnson also won a BAFTA Games Award in 2014 for Best Performer. Both actors returned for Part II, which released in 2020. Johnson received multiple nominations across voting organizations for her reprisal of Ellie, now as a grown woman, that year.
The HBO series largely adapts the events of the first game with potential to explore the second in later seasons.
Merle Dandridge was the first voice actor from the games to be brought into the show's fold. She will reprise her gaming role of Marlene, the head of the Fireflies resistance group, in the drama. Jeffrey Pierce, who voiced Joel's younger brother Tommy in the video games, also joined the show as a character named Perry, who appears newly created for the series. Terminator: Dark Fate's Gabriel Luna will play Tommy in the show.
Neil Druckmann, co-president of developer Naughty Dog and writer on the games, writes and executive produces the show with Mazin, and also directed a full episode.
A premiere date has not been revealed for the show, but HBO previously projected a 2023 debut.