After months of very little news, HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us has finally begun to pick up the pace. In the space of just a few hours, fans have gone from only being aware of a few key crew members, to having back-to-back castings announcements for the two lead characters.
The post-apocalyptic Naughty Dog franchise — which is critically-acclaimed for its insane level of storytelling — released its second installment last year to great controversy regarding some key story decisions.
However, many fans are still excited to see where the gaming franchise goes next, and where HBO takes their upcoming live-action adaptation. The series was previously announced to be run by Chernobyl creator, Craig Mazin, with several directors already on board for several episodes.
Today's announcement confirms the young Game of Thrones star, Bella Ramsey, will join the project as Ellie — a young girl who may hold the last hope for restoring the world to normality. Meanwhile, The Mandalorian lead, Pedro Pascal, has joined the production as her smuggler companion Joel, a father figure determined to escort Ellie to safety.
Fans of the gaming franchise know it for its next level storytelling, something which wouldn't be possible without next level voice actors. As such, the franchise is led by one of the best voice actors in the business, Troy Baker, as Joel.
The anticipated seal of approval on this casting news has now come from Baker himself as well as another familiar voice.
A STAMP OF APPROVAL FOR PASCAL AND RAMSEY
Troy Baker has offered his response to the casting of the roles, acknowledging Pascal's casting in his own character's role on Twitter, showing great excitement to “see what I learn about Joel from Pedro”.
Prior to that, following the original casting of Ellie, Baker shared his behind-the-scenes knowledge of “not just “Hollywood” players but die-hard, fought-in-the-trenches” fans working on the series who are determined “to make this groundbreaking for fans of this story and characters.”
Baker went on to share his deep excitement for Ramsey's casting in the role, sharing his high anticipation for the eventual release of the first episode, whenever that may come.
I don’t know about you but imma go with them and feel *pretty* good bout trusting their decision.— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) February 11, 2021
And, just like the rest of ya, wait with bated breath for that first episode. 🤘🏻
Ashley Johnson, the voice of Ellie in The Last of Us video games, also sang praise for the casting of Game of Thrones alum Bella Ramsey for the live-action role of Ellie.
WHAT COMES NEXT FOR THE SERIES?
Now that the series finally has its two main leads, the showrunner is sure to be hard at work on finalizing scripts for the first season, also rounding out the supporting cast.
Pedro Pascal's lead role in The Mandalorian leaves him with an incredibly busy schedule with Disney, leaving the studio limited opportunity to shoot the production. The series is currently between seasons at the moment as Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni shift their focus onto The Book of Boba Fett — set to debut later this year. This window seems to make now the perfect opportunity to begin shooting the series in order to allow it to complete before Pascal must don his Mandalorian armor once again.
While naturally expected for a production like this, the praise of the original voice actors is always a nice gesture to see. Baker appears to be a fan of the games himself as well as the star of them, making his opinion a fun perspective.
Baker comments on those involved in the casting of Ellie, seem to suggest those at the Naughty Dog studio may have had some involvement in the choice of Ramsey for the role. This is a clear blessing for fans as nobody knows the characters better than them.
Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann has previously been confirmed to be involved with the series, so it seems Joel and Ellie are in safe hands.
The Last of Us will debut on HBO, yet no release window has been made official.