Who are the Fireflies in HBO’s ‘The Last of Us?’

Marlene in 'The Last of Us'
Image via HBO

Warning: This article contains spoilers for HBO’s The Last of Us

To the delight of fans of the 10-year-old Naughty Dog title and folks who have a House of the Dragon-sized hole in their lives, HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation has finally landed on our TV screens with a feature-length premiere setting an appropriately morbid tone for the events to come.

Fans of the 2013 game will be feeling right at home in the cruel world of the latest hit to land on HBO. Familiar and faithfully executed characters? Check. Emotional gut-punch of a prologue? Yep. A world so bleak and devoid of hope 20 years after the world ended? Absolutely.

However, newcomers to the franchise may have a couple of questions on their minds when it comes to some of the in-universe lingo and the various factions within it: Who are FEDRA? Why are there little strings coming out of the zombie’s mouths rather than a good old-fashioned neck chewing? After the first episode, however, one of the main topics of discussion has been the mysterious Fireflies.

Who are they?

Image via HBO

The Fireflies are a faction of people across the United States. They aim to restore a pre-outbreak centralized government and remove FEDRA from its tyrannical position of power. With rebellion comes bloodshed, and the Fireflies do not shy away from acts of domestic terrorism to further their cause and thin out FEDRA’s numbers. 

The Fireflies and FEDRA have been at odds with each other since the early days of the outbreak and have been agents of chaos in the 20-odd years since. The Fireflies also have a science division, which is where Ellie comes into play. Since Ellie is immune to the virus, they believe she is the key to finding a cure, so they put her in the care of smuggler-for-hire Joel. He is then tasked with transporting her safely across a dangerous landscape in order to reach their researchers.

The most prominent Firefly figure we’re likely to meet is Marlene, the leader of the rebel faction’s operations in Boston. However, the Fireflies are spread throughout the entirety of the country, and they have been fighting a mostly losing battle for two decades since the outbreak began.

The first episode of The Last of Us is now streaming on HBO Max.