The Last of Us 2 unused dialogue reveals Joel’s thoughts about Ellie’s tattoo

The Last of Us 2
(Image credit: Sony)

A The Last of Us 2 fan has uncovered some unused dialogue where Joel asks Ellie about her moth tattoo. 

In the since cut conversation between the pair, Joel is discussing the Savage Starlight comic he’s been reading and asks Ellie if the moth hologram in the comic is what inspired her tattoo. Ellie, who is clearly embarrassed that he asked, responds: “ugh… maybe?... Judgy.” To which Joel replies: “I ain't judging. Just curious.” before adding “I think the moth is pretty.” 

As explained by Reddit user Taegukie, who posted the cut dialogue, this exchange was likely to be set during the Finding Strings flashback where we are taken back two years prior to the events of The Last of Us 2 as Ellie is on patrol with Tommy and Joel. Taegukie theorizes that Ellie got the inspiration for her tattoo from Dr. Daniela Star of the in-game Savage Starlight comic however as we now know, this was changed to be a reference to Joel’s guitar in the final draft of the game. 

As for where this unused dialogue came from, Taegukie also explains that they pieced the conversation together from aligning voice clips that YouTuber Evil Banana 202 - who has a talent for sourcing unused voice clips from various games - shared.  

Those of you who are unfamiliar with Ellie’s tattoo, we’re sure you’ve probably seen the now iconic ink without even realizing where it's from. The tattoo is made up of a large moth alongside some plants that look to be types of fern. In the game, Ellie was given the tattoo by her ex-girlfriend Cat to cover up an acid burn which Ellie performed on herself some years prior so that nobody would know she had previously been bitten by an infected. 

The tattoo design, along with the game is so popular that many fans of the series have begun getting the design replicated on their own arms. So popular in fact that the game’s developer Naughty Dog has even begun asking fans to submit photos of their The Last of Us tattoos, along with other creative tributes such as fan art and cosplay to share on their official website. 

Can’t get enough of Ellie’s gorgeous ink? Take a look at our best tattoos in games list. 

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.