Are Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson featured in HBO’s ‘The Last of Us?’

Ellie and Joel from The Last of Us
Image via Naughty Dog

HBO’s The Last of Us is finally upon us, with Pedro Pascal stepping into the shoes of Joel Miller, and Bella Ramsey taking up the mantle of Ellie Williams. 

Of course, the two lead characters were initially brought to life through the motion capture and voice acting efforts of Troy Baker (Joel) and Ashley Johnson (Ellie), who poured their souls into their roles, thus leaving big shoes for Pascal and Ramsey to fill. Seriously, you should check out this clip of Baker filming a pivotal death scene for the game, but we digress.

There is nothing but love between the four actors who brought life to Joel and Ellie, and they got together onstage at The Game Awards last month to pay kudos to one another’s performances. While we understand that perhaps HBO didn’t think the original actors had the look they needed, maybe the studio wanted more star power, or perhaps the actors themselves simply weren’t interested, but surely Baker and Johnson were involved in the show to some degree, right? 

Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson’s involvement in HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’

'The Last of Us' actors unite at The Game Awards
Image via The Game Awards

The original Joel and Ellie are, in fact, featured in HBO’s The Last of Us and weren’t left by the wayside. This isn’t particularly surprising, considering the game’s director, Neil Druckmann, is also by and large running the HBO adaptation. It’s only natural for the show to pay homage to the original leads by involving the actors.

As far as their roles are concerned, Johnson will be playing a woman named Anna Williams, who (at the time of writing) is presumed to be Ellie’s mother; she is seen carrying a child in the trailer, not to mention the two characters share a last name. Plus, having Johnson bring the new Ellie into the world is quite symbolic. 

Baker, on the other hand, appears to have a bit more of a “fly on the wall” kind of role in the series, playing a goon named James who looks to be under the employ of militia leader David. Perhaps Baker feels more comfortable bringing characters to life in a mo-cap suit rather than in the flesh. Hopefully, James will have some form of symbolic interaction with Joel. Perhaps he’ll beg for his life only to die by Pascal’s hand and pave the way for a big shift in Joel’s character arc. We’ll have to wait and see. 

The Last of Us premieres Sunday on HBO.