Meet The Last of Us cast: who's who in the post-apocalyptic drama

The Last Of Us key art featuring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey
Meet the stars that will pop up in Joel and Ellie's post-apocalyptic journey across the US. (Image credit: HBO)

Now that The Last of Us has finally been released, you've probably already started watching the HBO Max adaptation of the popular video game — if not, what's stopping you!? (here's our guide on how to watch The Last of Us).

Like the game it's based on, The Last of Us takes place in an alternate present-day version of the United States, which has been transformed in the wake of a deadly infection that causes people to mutate into fungus-based monsters (and no, they're not fungis to hang around with).

The story follows two survivors, Joel and Ellie, who embark on a dangerous quest across the continental US, meeting characters and surviving the infected on the way. 

Soon, the duo is forced to settle their differences and learn to depend on one another as they fend for their lives once their journey becomes a fraught trek across the post-apocalyptic environment, and face dangers from fellow survivors and the infected creatures that roam the lands. 

Recognize some of the actors you're seeing on screen? Here's what you need to know about the stars that feature in The Last of Us cast.

Pedro Pascal as Joel

Joel (Pedro Pascal) with a flashlight in The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us' leading man, Joel. (Image credit: HBO/Sky)

Pedro Pascal is one half of the lead duo and play’s the game’s protagonist, Joel. Having suffered tragedy during the initial outbreak, Joel becomes a smuggler, teaming up with Tess. Another important relation is Tommy, his brother, who helps him survive the early years of the infection, though by the time of the show they've been separated.

Joel's latest smuggling assignment is his most dangerous yet. He’s got to travel across post-apocalyptic America and deliver Ellie — a young girl representing the last hope of humanity — to a resistance group. 

In the video game The Last of Us, Joel is played by Troy Baker, who has a small role in the show as James.

Where else have you seen Pedro Pascal? Pascal has become a huge name in recent years. His recent credits include starring in the title role in The Mandalorian (and The Book of Boba Fett), The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Narcos, and Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones.  

Bella Ramsey as Ellie 

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Tess (Anna Torv) sit together on a mossy mound in The Last Of Us

Ellie and Tess have a heart to heart.  (Image credit: HBO)

Bella Ramsey stars opposite Pedro Pascal as Ellie, an orphaned teen who sets off on a perilous cross-country with Joel who is all the while grappling with the knowledge that she might be the key to saving the rest of the world from the infection. 

Ellie is a playful character, with lots of naivety and optimism in the world, but she still understands that she's got to do extreme things in order to survive. Ellie has no parents or relatives, though she has friends who she made along her journeys.

Where else have you seen Bella Ramsey? Ramsey is likely best known for playing the fearsome Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones. Recently, Ramsey has appeared in Catherine Called Birdy, Becoming Elizabeth, The Worst Witch and His Dark Materials, and she’s known for voicing the title character in Hilda and Hilda and the Mountain King

Gabriel Luna as Tommy

Tommy (Gabriel Luna) holding a rifle in The LAst Of Us

Joel's brother, Tommy. (Image credit: HBO)

Gabriel Luna is on hand as Joel's younger brother, Tommy. Tommy used to be a soldier, and he's always managed to keep hold of his hope for a better tomorrow. 

By the time the show takes place, Tommy has been separated from Joel, due to his joining the rebel faction The Fireflies, which Joel doesn't support. However they remain in contact until Tommy disappears, which motivates Joel to leave the Quarantine Zone he's sequestered in.

In the video game, Tommy is voiced by Jeffrey Pierce, who has a role in the TV show as Perry.

Where else have you seen Gabriel Luna? Luna has appeared in Matador, True Detective, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Terminator: Dark Fate, Hala and Eddie & Sunny

Merle Dandridge as Marlene

Merle Dandridge as Marlene in The Last Of Us

Merle Dandridge is reprising her voice performance as Marlene for the TV adaptation. (Image credit: Courtesy of HBO)

Merle Dandridge voiced Marlene in the original video games, and she’s returning to play the character in the TV series. Marlene is the leader of the Boston arm of the Fireflies, a resistance movement who have sprung up in opposition to the military.

We see Merle as an optimist, as she plans for a better tomorrow while still contending with the realities of her situation. The Fireflies wages a guerilla war against FEDRA, the new form of the US Military, though Merle understands it's a fight her side is losing.

Where else have you seen Merle Dandridge? Dandridge is likely recognized for her recent appearances in Station 19, Truth Be Told, The Flight Attendant, Murphy Brown and The Night Shift. She’s also known for voicing Alyx Vance in multiple Half-Life video games, too. 

Anna Torv as Tess

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) sit together in the Last Of Us

Partners in crime, Joel and Tess. (Image credit: HBO/Liane Hentscher)

Anna Torv is playing Tess. Together with Joel, the pair worked as smugglers eking out a living in the post-pandemic world. 

Tess acts as Joel's moral counterpoint, encouraging him to take Ellie under his wing. Having been by Joel's side for years, she likely knows more about his back story than most.

Where else have you seen Anna Torv? Anna Torv is likely best known for playing Olivia Dunham in Fringe, though she's also had roles in The Newsreader, Mindhunter, Stephanie, Secret City and The Secret Life of Us

Nico Parker as Sarah

Sarah (Nico Parker) reaching out to touch rain in The Last Of Us

Joel's teen daughter, Sarah. (Image credit: Shane Harvey/HBO)

Nico Parker is one of the many guest stars among The Last of Us cast. She's playing Sarah, Joel’s 14-year-old daughter. 

No mention is made of Sarah's mother, but Sarah is an independent child who knows how to look after herself, and she treats Joel as much like a friend as a father.

Where else have you seen Nico Parker? Parker has previously appeared in the 2019 live-action remake of Dumbo, Reminiscence and The Third Day (where, coincidentally, she played a character called Ellie).  

Nick Offerman as Bill

The Last Of Us cast poster featuring Bill (Nick Offerman) armed with a shotgun

Isolated survivalist, Bill. (Image credit: HBO)

Nick Offerman is playing Bill, a grizzled survivalist who is hiding out in an isolated town with Frank.

A character who's the star of one of the levels of The Last of Us game, Bill maintains a professional relationship with Joel and Tess, helping them smuggle in and out of Boston.

Where else have you seen Nick Offerman? Nick Offerman is likely best known for his turn as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, though he's had roles in everything from The Resort, A League of Their Own, Good Omens, The Founder, Fargo and many more.

Murray Bartlett as Frank

The LAst Of Us cast poster featuring Frank (Murray Bartlett) standing next to a chainlink fence.

Frank and Bill are hiding out together. (Image credit: HBO)

Murray Bartlett is playing Frank, a survivor hiding out with Bill.

Frank is mentioned in the game The Last of Us, but his character has been expanded greatly for the show, with the hidden subtext in Bill's level of the game made explicit in Frank's relationship with Bill.

Where else have you seen Murray Bartlett? Murray Bartlett has appeared in Welcome to Chippendales, Iron Fist, The White Lotus, The Guiding Light, Neighbours and Home and Away.

Storm Reid as Riley

The Last Of Us key art featuring Riley (Storm Reid)

Riley is a character players of the original game will recognize.  (Image credit: HBO)

Euphoria star Storm Reid is on hand to play Riley, an orphaned girl who grew up in post-apocalyptic Boston.

Riley plays an important role in Ellie's backstory, something we find out as soon as we meet Ellie. In the video game, Riley isn't present for the main game, but was introduced in a downloadable expansion pack for it.

Where else have you seen Storm Reid? Storm Reid is likely best known as Rue's sister, Gia in Euphoria, though she's also had roles in When They See Us, A Wrinkle in Time, 12 Years a Slave and The Invisible Man. 

Lamar Johnson as Henry

Henry (Lamar Johnson) The Last Of Us poster

Henry is hiding out with his little brother, Sam.  (Image credit: HBO)

Lamar Johnson is playing Henry. He's hiding from a revolutionary movement in Kansas City with his brother Sam (see below), and they end up crossing paths with Joel and Ellie.

Henry is a counterpoint to Joel, as while they're both trying to look after young charges, Joel's world experience has made him hardened and less empathetic.

Where else have you seen Lamar Johnson? Lamar Johnson has appeared in The Next Step, The Hate U Give, Kings, Native Son, and Your Honor.

Keivonn Woodard as Sam

Cropped Last Of Us Key art featuring Sam (Keivonn Woodard)

Sam is Henry's little brother.  (Image credit: HBO)

Keivonn Woodard is playing Sam, Henry's younger brother.

Sam is deaf, something which functions as a major disadvantage in the post-apocalypse scenario of the show, but he's also a spark of life that keeps Henry going.

Where else have you seen Keivonn Woodard? The Last Of Us is likely going to be Keivonn's biggest role to date, though he did appear in Seeds Of Hope: The Andrew Jackson Foster Story. 

Who else is part of The Last Of Us cast?

As if the above lineup wasn't packed full of amazing actors already, there's also a number of guest stars set to appear in The Last Of Us, including: 

  • Graham Green as Marlon
  • Elaine Miles as Florence
  • Jeffrey Pierce as Perry
  • Ashley Johnson (Ellie's original voice actor) as Anna Williams
  • Troy Baker (Joel's original voice actor) as James
  • Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen
  • John Hannah in an unnamed role

The Last of Us premieres on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, January 15, 2023, with the UK premiere coming one day later on Monday, January 16 on Sky Atlantic and NOW. 

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin was a Staff Writer with, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.