The Last Of Us Season 2: Could Laura Bailey Return To Play Abby? Creators Weigh In

This article contains spoilers for the first season of "The Last of Us" and "The Last of Us Part 2."

They always say that if there's a question mark in a headline then the answer to whatever that question is "No." So let's get that out of the way right up front. Will the original voice and performance capture actor from "The Last of Us Part 2" video play the main antagonist, Abby, in "The Last of Us" season 2? I can pretty confidently say no.

Laura Bailey performed Abby Anderson in the video game and did a hell of a job, I must say. Abby is a complicated character, full of determined rage and surprising depth and Bailey absolutely captured that in her performance, but there's a slight complication in that she doesn't really embody the character and her unique physicality in the real world. 

In the same way that Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker are the perfect Ellie and Joel for the video game, Bailey likely wouldn't represent the best choice for Abby in live-action despite absolutely crushing it for the Naughty Dog game. Now, that doesn't mean we won't see Bailey pop up in "The Last of Us" season 2 in some other role. In fact, eagle-eyed fans already know she cameoed in the season 1 finale as one of the nurses about to dig into Ellie's brain to try to cure mankind.

Abby or not, here she comes

If you're looking at the image above, that's her! And luckily enough for Bailey, since this cameo covered her whole face, she can still be brought in just about any capacity in the coming seasons of the HBO show. You don't have to take my word for it, co-showrunner and video game creator Neil Druckmann told reporters just that, saying "She's got a mask on, so we can make her anything we want in the next season." 

Craig Mazin and Druckmann were very respectful in folding in much of the video game cast into the live-action series, with Ashley Johnson having a great moment as Ellie's mom, Troy Baker playing the despicable David's right-hand man, James, and Jeffrey Pierce (the original performer of Tommy, Joel's brother) getting to play Melanie Lynskey's top lieutenant, Perry. 

The only person who got to reprise their role from the video game was Merle Dandridge who played Firefly boss Marlene and I think that was mainly because her look was pretty much the model for the character anyway and the actress had actually aged into the role. 

But there is a precedent for the key voice actors from the game being brought in for substantial roles and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Laura Bailey found herself as a new character in the coming season, a possibility made even more likely that her brief cameo at the end of season 1 was more of an Easter egg for the game's fans (especially considering that scene's importance to the events of the next story) and not a full-on character.

Playing Abby will be a double edged sword

Whoever ends up playing Abby is going to have to brace themselves for some vocal fan reaction. She's an incredible character and will be the role of a lifetime for whoever gets it because most villains don't get fleshed out to the extent that Abby Anderson does. There's so much to explore for a performer taking on this role and if Druckmann and Mazin stick to their guns with the character, it'll be one that will challenge the audience's perception of what makes a character good and what makes a character evil.

Without getting into too many spoilers of things (possibly) to come, the genius of the character is that she not only constantly reframes the audience's feelings towards her as the story goes on, but she also forces the viewer to reframe their thoughts on the protagonists of the story. 

Druckmann has said that the theme of "The Last of Us" is love. Sounds simple, but love inspires all sorts of behavior, from the noblest and pure to the most violent and angry. What Abby represents in all of her yoked-up glory is the same righteous anger that we've come to love about Joel and Ellie in the first game and first season of the adaptation.

This divided many gamers who were not only furious with her actions in the game but were even more upset that the game then makes you empathize with her by putting you in her shoes. You see she's not just a comic book villain with paper-thin motivations. From a certain point of view, she's just as heroic as Ellie and Joel, and boy howdy did a whole lot of gamers resent that.

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann's biggest challenge for season 2 is casting Abby

But the thing that made "The Last of Us Part 2" so divisive is also what makes it a masterpiece. It's not every post-apocalyptic story that forces empathy for even the most hated characters.

The Abby of the game was a mixture of Bailey's performance and Jocelyn Mettler's face mixed together and brought to life by the talented designers and programmers at Naughty Dog. There have been calls from fans to have Mettler cast in the role and some other fans have suggested actresses Mary Krantz, Shannon Berry ("The Wilds"), and Katy O'Brien (who co-starred with Pedro Pascal in "The Mandalorian").

But ultimately, Mazin and Druckmann will have to find the best performer for the part, someone who can capture the nuance and soul of Abby as well as the look. They know what they'll need from their actor and they also know that if there's one crucial piece of casting for "The Last of Us" season 2, it's Abby Anderson. They can't get away with someone just "kinda" right for the role, they're going to have to find someone who is the perfect live-action embodiment of this character, just like they did with Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal, and Gabriel Luna in the first season.

If I was a betting man, I'd say you'll be seeing more of Laura Bailey in the coming season, but she won't be playing her video game counterpart. Maybe they'll expand on her nurse cameo and jump off from there or maybe they'll cook up something even juicier for her, but I'm sure we'll see her again.