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The Last of Us HBO series co-creator confirms first wave of characters (but leaves one redacted)

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us HBO series co-creator Neil Druckmann, who is writing and producing the upcoming TV show alongside Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, has revealed the first set of characters heading to the post-apocalypse.

No real surprises, except one mysteriously-redacted name that could hint at The Last of Us 2 story factoring into the adaptation a lot sooner than anticipated.

While quote-tweeting a celebration of International Women’s Day from the HBO Twitter account, Druckmann said, “And now you have Ellie, Riley, Tess, Marlene, Maria, [redacted], and a few others!”

So, to the surprise of no one, Ellie will be in The Last of Us HBO series. Alongside her is Ellie’s close friend, Riley, and Joel’s friend, Tess. Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies, will be included, as will Maria, the wife of Joel’s brother, Tommy.

These all indicate that the events of the series will cover the first game, as well as the potential for past scenes with Ellie and Riley revolving around their fledgeling relationship.

After Maria, though, comes the tantalising tease – one that seemingly involves space for a four-letter name.

Who could it be? The only major in-universe female character that hasn’t appeared in The Last of Us (or its DLC expansion, Left Behind) is (possible spoilers for The Last of Us 2) Anna, the deceased mother of Ellie who is only referenced in audiologs and letters in the first game.

Having died prior to the events of The Last of Us, she won’t be showing up over the course of Joel and Ellie’s journey together, but she could make an appearance elsewhere – be it in flashbacks or via hallucinations. Another possibility is Dina, the girl Ellie is seen kissing during trailers for The Last of Us 2

Those who have been keeping up with The Last of Us 2 will also have seen that a Laura Bailey-voiced character was confirmed for the game back in 2017, with her identity similarly redacted. Some fans at the time inevitably jumped to the conclusion that she’ll be playing Anna.

It may be a case of two separate cover-ups or, excitingly, the Last of Us HBO series could be cherry-picking story elements from the sequel to bring to the small screen for a fuller, more complete experience of Naughty Dog's survival classic.

See who fans want in The Last of Us HBO series with our fancast round-up.

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).