The Last of Us cast: who stars in the post-apocalyptic drama with Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, and Storm Reid?

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Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are joined by Storm Reid, Anna Torv, Diego Luna, and Nick Offerman in the upcoming HBO adaptation of The Last of Us

The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic horror drama in a similar vein to The Road, is coming to HBO and Sky Atlantic on Sunday 15 January. The series takes place in a world ravaged by a parasitic fungal infection, and charts the journey of two survivors who might hold the key to a cure.

The series is based on a popular video game from 2013, but brings in a new cast to play its leads, with new actors reinventing familiar characters for this small screen adaptation.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the cast of The Last of Us, from who they play in the HBO post-apocalyptic drama to where you recognise them from already – and, of course, a recommendation for what to watch them in next.

Pedro Pascal as Joel

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in The Last of Us, holding a torch in the dark (Credit: HBO)Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in The Last of Us, holding a torch in the dark (Credit: HBO)
Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in The Last of Us, holding a torch in the dark (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Pedro Pascal plays Joel, a hardened smuggler burdened by the trauma of what it took to survive in the new world. He’s still living with grief after the loss of his daughter, but forms a bond with Ellie as he escorts her from Boston to Wyoming.

Where do I know them from? You’ll know Pedro Pascal from roles in Game of Thrones and Narcos, or from films like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Wonder Woman 1984.

What should I watch them in next? It’s a slightly obvious comparison, given the underlying “taciturn protector transports vulnerable young charge, bonds with them” idea it and The Last of Us share, but you might want to check out Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian. Pascal plays the lead (most of the time).

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Bella Ramsey as Ellie

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsay as Ellie in The Last of Us, hiding from an Infected person in the dark (Credit: HBO)Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsay as Ellie in The Last of Us, hiding from an Infected person in the dark (Credit: HBO)
Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsay as Ellie in The Last of Us, hiding from an Infected person in the dark (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Bella Ramsey plays Ellie, a defiant and sarcastic teenager. She’s seemingly immune to the fungal infection that brought on the apocalypse, and some believe she could be the key to a vaccine or even a cure.

Where do I know them from? Bella Ramsey was a memorable supporting character on Game of Thrones, where they played Lyanna Mormont; you might also recognise them from a supporting role on His Dark Materials, or from the CBBC series The Worst Witch.

What should I watch them in next? They’re soon to lead the film Catherine Called Birdy, which also stars Andrew Scott and Billie Piper – it looks quite good from the trailers, and after their performance in The Last of Us it’s worth paying attention to any of Ramsey’s upcoming projects.

Anna Torv as Tess

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Anna Torv as Tess in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)Pedro Pascal as Joel and Anna Torv as Tess in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)
Pedro Pascal as Joel and Anna Torv as Tess in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Anna Torv plays Tess, Joel’s smuggling partner.

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Where do I know them from? Torv is best known for playing Olivia Dunham on Fringe, a sci-fi procedural from 2008; you might also recognise her from David Fincher’s Netflix series Mindhunter.

What should I watch them in next? Very different from The Last of Us, but Torv has recently received a lot of acclaim for her performance in The Newsreader, an Australian drama about a 1970s television journalist.

Gabriel Luna as Tommy

Diego Luna as Tommy in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)Diego Luna as Tommy in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)
Diego Luna as Tommy in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Gabriel Luna plays Tommy, Joel’s younger brother. He’s more idealistic than Joel, and is more optimistic about the possibility of building a new life in this world.

Where do I know them from? You might recognise Luna from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, where he played Ghost Rider (there was also briefly some talk of a spinoff lead by Luna, though it never materialised). Luna also played a supporting role in the first series of True Detective.

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Merle Dandridge as Marlene

Merle Dandridge as Marlene & Natasha Mumba as Kim Tembo (Credit: HBO)Merle Dandridge as Marlene & Natasha Mumba as Kim Tembo (Credit: HBO)
Merle Dandridge as Marlene & Natasha Mumba as Kim Tembo (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Merle Dandridge plays Marlene, leader of the Fireflies resistance group. Interestingly, Dandridge played Marlene in the original The Last of Us game – making her the only actor to reprise her game role in the television adaptation.

Where do I recognise them from? Dandridge is a prolific actor, probably best known for appearing in television series like Sons of Anarchy and Station 19; she also previously starred in The Flight Attendant and Truth Be Told.

Nick Offerman as Bill

Nick Offerman as Bill in The Last of Us, drinking wine cautiously (Credit: HBO)Nick Offerman as Bill in The Last of Us, drinking wine cautiously (Credit: HBO)
Nick Offerman as Bill in The Last of Us, drinking wine cautiously (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Nick Offerman plays Bill, a paranoid survivalist who turns out to be extremely well prepared for the end of the world.

Where do I know them from? Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, though you might also recognise him from more dramatic performances in series like Pam & Tommy, Fargo, The Resort, Devs, and A League of Their Own.

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What should I watch them in next? It might be worth rewatching a few episodes of Parks and Recreation, to remind yourself of Offerman’s portrayal of a hyper libertarian type – it’s a role that’s evoked by his performance in The Last of Us, at least a little bit.

Murray Bartlett as Frank

Nick Offerman as Bill and Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us, reading sheet music at a piano (Credit: HBO)Nick Offerman as Bill and Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us, reading sheet music at a piano (Credit: HBO)
Nick Offerman as Bill and Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us, reading sheet music at a piano (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Murray Bartlett plays Frank, a stray survivor who meets Bill after falling afoul of one of his traps.

Where do I know them from? You might recognise Bartlett from the HBO series Looking or the Netflix series Tales of the City; more recently, Bartlett has also starred in the Apple TV+ drama Physical and the true crime drama Welcome to Chippendales.

What should I watch them in next? Bartlett best known, of course, for The White Lotus, in which he was probably the best part of the first series.

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Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen

Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen in The Last of Us (Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen in The Last of Us (Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen in The Last of Us (Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO) | Liane Hentscher/HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Melanie Lynskey plays Kathleen, a leader of a group of survivors under thread. Kathleen is a new character, invented for the TV show and not present in the game.

Where do I know them from? You’ll know Lynskey from her days as a child star, appearing in Heavenly Creatures alongside Kate Winslet in 1994; she later went on to appear in But I’m A Cheerleader and Coyote Ugly. More recently, Lynskey has appeared in Two and a Half Men, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

What should I watch them in next? Lynskey is currently starring in Yellowjackets, and she’s absolutely fantastic in it. The second series is starting in March, so you’ve got time to go back and catch up on the first.

Storm Reid as Riley

Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)
Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Who do they play in The Last of Us? Storm Reid plays Riley, another orphan and a friend of Ellie’s. Riley is a character taken from The Last of Us: Left Behind, a companion piece intended to expand on the story of the game.

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Where do I know them from? Reid is best known for appearing in the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time; on television, meanwhile, you might remember her as Rue’s younger sister Gia in Euphoria.

Who else stars in The Last of Us?

The Last of Us also stars Nico Parker (Dumbo) as Sarah, Lamar Johnson (The Hate U Give) as Henry, and Scott Shepherd (The Young Pope) as David amongst others.

A few actors from the original games appear in supporting roles in The Last of Us. Troy Baker (who played Joel) stars as James, a senior member of a religious cult; Ashley Johnson (the original Ellie) plays Ellie’s mother Anna in a flashback sequence; and Jeffrey Pierce (who played Tommy) appears as Pierce, a member of the Fireflies.

Who writes and directs The Last of Us?

The Last of Us was developed by Craig Mazin (previously of Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (creator of the original video games), both of whom write and direct episodes of the series – often, at times, sharing a co-writing credit. They’re also joined by guest writers and guest directors; one notable such director is Peter Hoar, who helms the third episode, and previously directed It’s A Sin.

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The Last of Us begins on HBO on Sunday 15 January. In the UK, it’ll air on Sky Atlantic at 2am on Monday 16 January, with a later repeat at 9pm. You’ll also be able to watch the series on NOW TV.

You can read our review of The Last of Us here, listen to us discuss it on our Screen Babble podcast here, and read more of our coverage here.

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