The Last of Us HBO Series Cast and Character Guide

HBO’s The Last of Us, which is based on Naughty Dog’s acclaimed game franchise, is set to debut on January 15, 2023. The story is centered on the post-apocalyptic cross-country odyssey of Joel and Ellie, who must survive against all odds in a world decimated by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus which has created a far-reaching infection that transforms humans into raving monsters.

Whether you’re a fan of the games — 2013’s The Last of US and 2020’s The Last of Us Part II — or new to the tale completely, we’ve got a breakdown of the show’s characters for you so that you can get prepped for the series ahead of time. Most characters are from The Last of Us game but some are new, as the 10-episode first season adapts the game while also containing chapters that “deviate greatly” from the original narrative.

Here’s a closer look at the many characters we’ll meet in TLOU: Season 1, as the fate of humankind rests in a bitter, jaded man’s escort mission, trying to transport an orphaned girl who may be able to unlock the secrets to a worldwide cure.

Pedro Pascal is Joel

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Game of Thrones/The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal stars as Joel, a man who suffered an incalculable loss at the outset of the fungipocalypse. Now a morose, closed-off shell of his former self, Joel is tasked with escaping his tyrannically-strict Quarantine Zone in order to smuggle a young girl, Ellie, across the United States to a medical facility run by a rebel militia called the Fireflies. Tormented by his past, Joel reluctantly accepts the mission when he discovers why Ellie is so special to the resistance movement. In the games, Joel is portrayed by Troy Baker.

Bella Ramsey as Ellie

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Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey plays Ellie, a feisty, defiant a 14-year-old girl who is just as shocked as everyone else to discover she’s immune to the Cordyceps brain infection. Could she be the cure to uncovering a full society-saving vaccine? There’s only one way to find out. One of the best smugglers in the business, Joel, becomes her reluctant chaperone as the two head out into the badlands, traveling from Massachusetts to Colorado. In the games, Ellie is portrayed by Ashley Johnson.

Gabriel Luna as Tommy

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Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD/Terminator: Dark Fate’s Gabriel Luna plays Tommy, Joel’s younger idealistic brother. A former soldier, Tommy joins up with the Fireflies in an effort to try and make this post-apocalyptic world a better place. He is more proactive than his sullen older bro. In the games, Tommy is portrayed by Jeffrey Pierce.

Anna Torv as Tess

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Fringe and Mindhunter’s Anna Torv recurs as Tess, a hardened survivor of the new world (played by Annie Wersching in the game). Tess is Joel’s smuggling partner, both gritty and capable, doing what she has to in order to get by in the ravaged hellscape.

Jeffrey Pierce as Perry

Jeffrey Pierce from the pilot for Fox's Alcatraz.

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We don’t know much about the character of Perry except that he’s an original character for the series, a rebel in a Quarantine Zone, and played by Tommy voice actor Jeffrey Pierce. And Pierce is not the only voice actor from the games to be given a live-action role on the series.

Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen

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Another original character for the show is Kathleen, play by Yellowjackets’ Melanie Lynskey. According to reports, Kathleen is the leader of a revolutionary movement in Kansas City. It’s not clear right now if this means she’s a higher-up in the ranks of the Fireflies, as that’s the main rebel organization in the game’s story.

Lamar Johnson as Henry

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The Hate U Give’s Lamar Johnson plays Henry, a role filled by Brandon Scott in the game. Henry and his younger brother Sam are hiding from Kathleen’s revolutionary group in Kansas City and meet up with Joel and Ellie along the way. In the game these events take place in Pittsburgh.

Keivonn Woodard as Sam

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Sam is a deaf child who is hunted by violent revolutionaries alongside his brother Henry. Keivonn Woodard plays him on the series while Nadji Jeter (Spider-Man: Miles Morales) played Sam in the game. It’s worth noting that Sam isn’t deaf in the game, and is a bit older than actor Keivonn Woodard, so the Henry/Sam dynamic may have changed significantly.

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