HBO's The Last Of Us Series Casts Storm Reid As A Character From The Game's DLC

With HBO's "The Last of Us" TV series well into production, fans are anxiously awaiting news on the adaptation of Naughty Dog's immensely popular video game series. Turns out that if you're persistent enough, you might just get what you want! Always on the lookout for new info, some fans recently picked up on the possibility of a new cast member joining the team. Some internet investigating (i.e. an Instagram post) showed "Euphoria" and "A Wrinkle In Time" actress Storm Reid arriving in Calgary just as the cast and crew of "The Last of Us" returned to resume production. Now there's no need to wonder, as those suspicions have already been confirmed: Deadline reports Storm Reid is joining the cast as Riley Abel.

Just like the game, "The Last of Us" show follows hardened survivor Joel (Pedro Pascal) 20 years after civilization has been destroyed by a deadly virus that essentially unleashed a zombie apocalypse. As though his life isn't complicated enough, he's hired to smuggle Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old girl, across the country and out of an oppressive quarantine zone. Before he knows it, the job evolves into a life-changing journey as the two survivors learn to depend on one another. But before Ellie had Joel, she had Riley — and based on the casting info, we'll see the early days of Ellie's journey firsthand.

What Do We Know About Riley?

Those familiar with the games will recognize Riley Abel (previously voiced by Yaani King) from her role in the DLC "The Last of Us: Left Behind." Riley never actually appears in the main series but gets more than a few mentions from Ellie while she journeys through the zombie-infested world with Joel. Both orphaned children growing up in post-apocalyptic Boston, Riley and Ellie were best friends. Though Riley was a couple of years older, both are too young to remember the pre-virus world and lived out their early years in a quarantine zone. The DLC — which isn't any less heartbreaking than the main saga — takes us through their final days together. A visit from Riley ends up kickstarting the events that lead Ellie into Joel's care. But never mind the heartbreaking implications behind this prequel info — the important thing is, we get to see Ellie and Riley have some chaotic fun in a decaying shopping mall! Even better, this prequel story is an early opportunity to explore Ellie's sexuality, as her friendship with Riley evolves.

With Riley set to appear in the series, it seems likely that we'll learn Ellie's backstory over the course of the first season via flashbacks to the events portrayed in "Left Behind." This could also be a place for the series to take inspiration from "The Last of Us: American Dreams," the four-issue comic series from Neil Druckmann and cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks. The comic focused on Ellie's unique upbringing as an apocalypse-baby and chronicles the early days of her friendship with Riley.

"The Last of Us," which comes from series creator Neil Druckmann and "Chernobyl" showrunner Craig Mazin, is set to arrive at some point in 2022, though no specific date has been revealed. Other cast members featured in the series include Anna Torv, Merle Dandrige, Nick Offerman, Nico Parker, Gabriel Luna, Jeffrey Pierce, and Murray Bartlett.