Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us season 1.The Last of Us has shown overwhelming fidelity to the game in many ways, one being the inclusion of the original game actors extending to who plays Ellie’s mother Anna. From Jeffery Pierce who originally played Tommy Miller in the game appearing in The Last of Us episode 4 as Perry to Merle Dandridge reprising her role as Marlene, HBO’s The Last of Us has shown respect to the actors who starred in the game that began the franchise. This only continued in a big way with the penultimate episode of The Last of Us season 1.


In The Last of Us episode 8, Troy Baker played James after portraying the main character of Joel Miller in both The Last of Us Part I and The Last of Us Part II. With this, one-half of the vital duo of main characters from the original The Last of Us game appeared in HBO’s adaptation. That being said, the other half followed shortly after, with the character of Ellie’s mother Anna featuring the appearance of another crucial game actor.

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Ashley Johnson, The Last Of Us Games’ Ellie Actor, Plays Ellie’s Mom

A screenshot taken from a trailer for The Last of Us' HBO adaption, showing Ellie's mother Anna, as portrayed by Ashley Johnson. 

The actor playing Ellie’s mother Anna in HBO’s The Last of Us is none other than Ashley Johnson. Troy Baker played Joel in the original The Last of Us game, with the other half of the central duo Ellie being played in both games by Johnson. Ashley Johnson provided both the voice performance and motion capture for Ellie in The Last of Us in 2013 and its sequel.

The character of Anna is interesting for The Last of Us season 1, given that she did not physically appear in the original game. Anna was only mentioned briefly as a former friend of Marlene’s, which explains how Marlene knew Ellie. With the adaptation of The Last of Us for HBO though, co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin decided to add to the original game’s story in perfect ways, one being the story of Anna poetically portrayed by Johnson who initially played Anna’s daughter Ellie.

Why Ashley Johnson Is Perfect Casting For Ellie’s Mother

Ashley Johnson as Ellie - The Last of Us

The casting of Ashley Johnson as Anna in The Last of Us is amazing for various reasons. Outside of showing respect for one of the central performers of both The Last of Us games, the connection between Bella Ramsey’s Ellie and Anna as characters makes Johnson’s casting even better on a thematic level. Anna is vitally important to Ellie’s overall character throughout The Last of Us season 1 for a variety of reasons and, given that Johnson understands Ellie’s character so deeply, she is better suited than anyone to portray the person who brings Ellie’s journey to life both physically and metaphorically.

Johnson originally playing Ellie before going on to play Anna is arguably better casting than all the other game actors appearing in HBO’s Last of Us outside of Merle Dandridge. While Troy Baker and Jeffrey Pierce were equally fantastic in their roles and provided an added bit of depth for fans of the game, Johnson’s role in HBO’s TV video game adaptation links intrinsically to the original role she brought to life. This adds a level of depth not found in the other game actors’ roles, making Ashley Johnson’s role as Anna in The Last of Us one of the show’s most important.

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