HBO Finally Casts Joel And Ellie For Its ‘The Last Of Us’ TV Series
If you want to see how to make a television series, just look at how HBO does it - well, if you axe Game of Thrones Season 8 from canon. From the gritty prison drama of Oz to the booze-soaked streets of Boardwalk Empire, Tony Soprano giving Don Corleone a run for his money in The Sopranos to the masked mayhem of last year's Watchmen. The aforementioned Game of Thrones, True Detective, Big Little Lies, Euphoria, Westworld, Chernobyl, the list is endless. Now, as the network turns its attention to The Last of Us, it's finally secured its lead stars of Joel and Ellie.
Back in 2013, Naughty Dog left usual favourites like Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted behind to chart the zombie-ravaged world of The Last of Us. Making The Walking Dead look like a child's tea party, the game leaned into its adult themes, as protagonists Joel and Ellie soon learned the unhinged remnants of the human race were just as dangerous as the cannibalistic monsters known as the Infected. After wiping the boards with awards and records, 2019's long-awaited The Last of Us Part II was equally groundbreaking - if a little divisive in its storyline. This is where HBO comes in.
Who's playing Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us TV series?
According to Deadline, Game of Thrones alumni Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey have landed the lead roles of Joel and Ellie. In The Last of Us, the story evolved as smuggler Joel was tasked with ferrying teenager Ellie to an anti-government militia known as the Fireflies. Although Ellie has been infected with the deadly Cordyceps genus, she doesn't display signs of the Infected and could be the key to the cure. The series is expected to follow the main narrative of the games, however, expect there to be a few twists and turns, rather than a direct retelling. Then again, we've seen how Game of Thrones often faltered when it veered away from the source material.
For those who don't know, Pascal played the fan-favourite Oberyn Martell in Season 4 of Thrones. The character was a suave Dornish man with a vendetta against House Lannister, which bizarrely led to him fighting in Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat and meeting a grisly demise in the lauded episode, "The Mountain and the Viper". Since then, Pascal has been a star on the rise thanks to roles in the likes of Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Wonder Woman 1984. Of course, most now know him as the stoic Din Djarin as the lead of Disney's The Mandalorian. We don't know how Pascal will juggle two such massive shows, but either way, he's flavour of the month right now.
As for Ramsey, she's a relative newcomer to the scene, but became a shining star of Thrones. The no-nonsense Lyanna Mormont was the Queen of Bear Island and lived up to her family's motto of "Here We Stand". Despite being late to the party in Season 6, Ramsey's Lyanna soon stole our hearts and one of the show's best-loved characters. Before The Last of Us even started casting, many championed the 17-year-old for the role of Ellie.
Are these the right choices to play Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us TV series?
Fans always knew the roles of Joel and Ellie would be a hotly contested fight, with all sorts of names being thrown into the mix. At one point, someone suggested a Logan reunion between Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen. As Big Little Lies has shown with a cast that includes Witherspoon, Kidman, and Streep, A-listers are flocking to HBO. Only recently, True Detective and Blade reboot's Mahershala Ali was linked to the role of Joel. Finally, there were campaigns for Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to swap Jaime Lannister for Joel. Although the casting of Ramsey is bang on the money, some are already calling Pascal's appointment a "safe" bet.
The Last of Us is coming to HBO in the near future, with Naughty Dog Co-President Neil Druckmann attached alongside Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. While Joel and Ellie are just the tip of the iceberg, we're hoping there's a who's who of famous faces to pad out the cast in a similar way to how Westworld was handled. Here's hoping it's not just a regurgitation of Thrones actors, however, who wouldn't love to see Lena Headey as a gender-flipped version of David the cannibal? This stuff practically writes itself!
Images via HBO | Naughty Dog