The Last of Us: HBO Reveals New Look at Ashley Johnson's Special Character

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Ellie Ashley Johnson HBO Last of Us

HBO's The Last of Us finale trailer featured a new look at Ashley Johnson's special character in the series. 

The Last of Us has received widespread acclaim every week due to its game-accurate scenes.

Moreover, it also garnered high praise because it brought back voice actors from the game into live-action. 

Episode 3 showcased the arrival of Jeffrey Pierce, Tommy's voice actor, as Kansas City revolutionary Perry. Meanwhile, Episode 8 saw the debut of Troy Baker, Joel's voice actor, as "buddy boy" James, one of David's followers. 

The Last of Us Finale Trailer Features Ashley Johnson's Debut

HBO officially released a new trailer for The Last of Us finale, giving a fresh look at Ashley Johson's Anna, who is Ellie's mom.

Johnson was the original voice actor of Ellie from the two PlayStation games.

Ashley Johnson as Anna, The Last of Us

New footage showed a pregnant Anna being chased by an infected. It is unknown if it is a runner or a stalker.

Infected, The Last of Us

Based on the footage, it looks like the finale will explain why Ellie is immune since the trailer appears to hint that Anna was infected before giving birth to Bella Ramsey's character.

Ashley Johnson as Anna, The Last of Us

Entertainment Weekly described Anna as a "pregnant woman, alone and on the run, who must give birth under the most terrifying of circumstances."

Speaking in a past interview with Variety, The Last of Us showrunner and the game's co-creator Neil Druckmann talked about Johnson's character in the HBO series. 

While confirming that Anna's backstory was "supposed to be an animated short" and DLC that didn't come to fruition, Druckmann explained that it was director Craig Mazin who "activated" the character for the show: 

"The one that shows up very late in the season is Ellie’s mom. I had written a short story after we had shipped the game already. It was supposed to be an animated short, but it fell apart and didn’t come to be. There was a moment where we almost made it as DLC, but it fell apart. In our conversations, I brought it up to Craig and he was immediately excited by it, or as he would say 'activated.' We brought it to life in the most beautiful, poetic way, which is Ashley Johnson playing Ellie’s mom and she was the original actor for Ellie."

Watch the trailer below:

Why Ashley Johnson's New Character Is Important

In The Last of Us video game, Anna's backstory was only hinted at through a letter from Ellie's backpack, confirming that she was friends with Firefly leader Marlene (played by Merle Dandridge in both the TV series and the games) while also giving a sneak peek at who she really is. 

Meanwhile, other bits about Anna were unveiled via the game's companion comic book series, The Last of Us: American Dreams, and the Left Behind DLC. In the four-issue comic story, it was revealed that Ellie's switchblade belongs to Anna while the DLC noted that she was a nurse before the outbreak. 

In addition to the sequence of giving birth to Bella Ramsey's Ellie, the finale could showcase the close bond between Marlene and Anna while also potentially including the gut-wrenching death scene of Ashley Johnson's character. 

Seeing Anna's side of the story gives fans the opportunity to unravel Ellie's immunity in a different light since her mom's potential infection would've contributed to the mutation of the cordyceps inside her. 

All in all, Johnson's debut as Anna in HBO's The Last of Us allows the show to further expand the backstory of Ellie's mom in more ways than one. 

The Last of Us finale is set to premiere on HBO this Sunday, March 12, at 9 p.m. ET. 

- In This Article: The Last of Us
Release Date
January 15, 2023
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.