The Last of Us Game’s Original Joel Actor Says Fans Will Hate His New Character For HBO Show

The last of us HBO TV series is about to premiere, bringing one of the best-selling and most acclaimed video games of all time to the small screen. It’s no secret in the industry that gamers are notoriously fickle about how their favorite video games are adapted for the screen – just ask anyone involved in the current wave of video game TV shows, such as The witcher (Netflix) or Halo (Paramount+). We will, The last of us is a game known for its deep characterization and brutal character arcs, and getting a live-action actor to match (or even replace) what game directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann accomplished will be quite the achievement.

MORE: The Last of Us TV Series Official Review

The last of us games star Troy Baker (who provided the motion capture and voice for the main character, Joel) is also included in the HBO series – but obviously not again as Joel (who will be played by The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal). A minor character named James was expanded for The last of us TV series, and Baker warns fans that while they’ll love him forever as Joel, they’ll probably hate him as James:

“They’re going to hate me,” Troy Baker told Deadline at The last of us premiere. “But hopefully they understand me, I don’t know… I believe all the characters are the heroes of their own story, and that’s pretty much how I approached everything. I never like playing ‘the bad guy’. But this was a smaller role in the game, and Neil and Craig [Mazin] were kind enough to put some meat on the bones and let me really chew. And it was a lot of fun, it was a big challenge, it was a chance to flex and it was such a fun time.”

(Photo: HBO)

Who is James in The Last of Us?

The first Last of Us game was organized into seasonal segments, and in the “Winter Segment” we met James. WARNING: MAJOR GAME SPOILERS FOLLOW!



James and his partner David were part of a settlement of people who had turned to cannibalism. While Joel recovers from a serious injury, the girl he protects and guides across the country, Ellie, is forced to gather supplies and hunt game to survive the winter.

One day while out hunting, Ellie meets James and David. Although skeptical of them at first, they help her fend off a wave of the infected and gain their trust. Well, that confidence turns out to be extremely misplaced, as Ellie eventually finds out that she’s meant to be dinner for David and James. During one of the game’s most extreme “boss fights”, Ellie escapes and kills James, taking on an infected David in a deadly game of restaurant hide-and-seek. Ellie savagely killed David with a machete – a pivotal moment that also “kills” what’s left of her hope and innocence.

It will be interesting to see how The last of us The HBO series turns David and James’ ambiguous roles into a longer series of episodes where Ellie gets to know them.

The last of us premieres this week on HBO.

Source: Variety

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