With The Last of Us gearing up for its second season, who might the show choose to bring to life the impending arrival of Abby Anderson, the character who fractured the franchise’s fanbase?
What would cause such a rift between everyone? (Spoiler alert for a major game moment in Part II) Well, in the first two hours of the second game, Abby brutally kills Joel. To add insult to injury, many weren’t the biggest fan of also having to play as her for half of Part II.
Voice actress Laura Bailey brought the character to life in the game. But when it comes to live-action, somebody else will need to embody her as she goes up against Bella Ramsey’s Ellie. But who might be the best fit?
Florence Pugh (Black Widow)
Florence Pugh's rise to fame took a jump after her leading part in Midsommar, and since then, she’s gone on to do projects like Black Widow and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Next on her schedule are three of the biggest movies of the next two years: Oppenheimer, Dune: Part Two, and Thunderbolts.
The first hiccup to getting Pugh attached to The Last of Us is her stardom—but if the creators can get past that, then she might be a perfect choice for Abby. The actress has already proven she is more than capable of the physical requirements of the role and could easily get to the buffer psyche of the controversial character. Pugh can also handle more serious subject matters with grace.
Katy M. O’Brian (The Mandalorian)
Out of everyone on this list, Katy M. O’Brian is the only actor who already has the unique, crossfit-esque psyche Abby is famous for.
Thankfully, she can also act—most recently being in The Mandalorian’s critically praised “Chapter 19: The Convert” and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
Joining The Last of Us Season 2 and beyond would be a great next step in her career.
Shannon Berry (The Wilds)
Shannon Berry is a relatively unknown actor. Her biggest project recently was Prime Studios’ The Wilds, which went on for two seasons before being canceled.
One thing most people will notice about the actress is that she already looks extremely similar to Abby. It’s a key reason why her name has been circulating as a good possible pick for the role.
Her time in The Wilds, a series revolving around a group of people surviving after a crash landing on an island, also proves that she contains the acting capability to take on Abby’s tragic story.
Olivia Cooke (House of the Dragon)
HBO Max’s highly successful Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, is likely still on everyone’s mind—which means so is Olivia Cooke.
Cooke has shown on multiple occasions that she’s an incredible actress with a proven range. Though, putting her in a leading position for two of Warner Bros.' biggest hits could also go against her chances.
Her intense roles as Queen Alicent Hightower and Lou in Sound of Metal are fitting examples of the intensity Cooke could bring to Abby.
Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Many might not be too familiar with Madeline Brewer, but on top of her more popular role in The Handmaid’s Tale, she’s been a staple of many solid horror films.
While Brewer has specialized in more off-putting and strange performances, becoming Abby would be the perfect way of stretching her metaphorical acting limbs. So while it would be outside her usual MO, Brewer could easily knock it out of the park.
With The Handmaid’s Tale finishing up, Brewer should have a wide open schedule to give The Last of Us all the time it needs.
Eliza Taylor (The 100)
The 100 was a show all about survival and its leading cast overcoming a broken world—so Eliza Taylor is already a few steps ahead of the competition.
With 100 episodes of starring in a highly popular TV show, Taylor is seasoned enough to handle it. While shifting from a CW project to an HBO Max project might cause hesitation from some, rest assured, the actress is more than ready to take on the role.
While she doesn’t quite have the famous physical psyche that Abby has, it’s certainly not far-fetched to imagine the woman who played Clarke Griffin beefing up to take on Pedro Pascal’s Joel.
Bailey Bass (Avatar: The Way of Water)
Many might not recognize Bailey Bass right away, but she was a leading star in one of the biggest movies of all time: Avatar: The Way of Water. She brought Tsireya to life, a new character from the water Na’Vi who gets close to Britain Dalton’s Lo’ak.
While audiences are more familiar with a blue VFX version of the actress, The Last of Us could be the perfect chance for Bass to continue her upward climb into the public eye.
Sure, Bass might not be the exact race as Abby is in the game, but it's doubtful Neil Druckmann or Craig Mazin would let that get in the way of their top pick. After all, Mahershala Ali was once considered for Joel.
Liana Liberato (Scream 6)
For everyone that had the pleasure of seeing Scream 6 within the last few weeks, they’ll likely know this actress. She played Quinn Bailey, a roommate and friend to Jenna Ortega’s Tara Carpenter.
While Liberato could come across as too young, her acting talents are no doubt there. After stealing the spotlight alongside Ortega, joining an even bigger project would be a great way to capitalize on her momentum.
Choosing Ellie’s Arch-Nemesis
It’s hard to tell whether a newer, more unknown actor (or someone well into fame) would be a better pick to bring Abby to life. With the character will come some heavy controversy and even more potent toxic fandom.
One key element that nearly everyone on this list will likely not have is Abby Anderson’s physical psyche—one born out of tragedy and the product of her unbridled determination to get justice.
With Season 2 possibly starting production later this year, Abby is bound to be cast sooner rather than later. Hopefully, the team behind the series will nail the casting, just like it did with both Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.
The Last of Us Season 1 is now streaming on HBO Max.