The Last of Us nearly had DLC starring Ellie's mom

The Last of Us
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us nearly had DLC starring Ellie's mom.

The nugget of information was recently revealed by The Last of Us creative director (and more recently The Last of Us TV show director) Neil Druckmann in an interview with Variety (opens in new tab)

Be warned: there are spoilers for The Last of Us game here!

Druckmann revealed he originally wrote a short story set in the game's world after The Last of Us shipped on PS3 in 2013. "It was supposed to be an animated short, but it fell apart and didn't come to be," the director said. "There was a moment where we almost made it as DLC, but it fell apart."

This animated short, and then DLC chapter for The Last of Us, was meant to star Ellie's mom. In the Variety interview, Druckmann reveals he mentioned this scrapped story idea to The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin in passing, and he immediately became excited about it. 

Ellie's mom would never appear in The Last of Us, or its sequel, The Last of Us Part 2, seven years later in 2020. The character is only ever mentioned in passing by Marlene, played in both the original Naughty Dog game and HBO adaptation by Merle Dandridge, who knew Ellie's mom before the events of the first game and knows the character's wishes for her daughter.

Now though, Ellie's mom will finally appear in The Last of Us via the HBO series. "We brought it to life in the most beautiful, poetic way, which is Ashley Johnson playing Ellie's mom and she was the original actor for Ellie," Druckmann continues. As revealed partway through last year, The Last of Us on HBO brings back game actors Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Troy Baker (Joel) for new roles.

Check out our The Last of Us episode 2 review for what we made of the latest episode in the HBO series. 

You can also head over to our guide covering The Last of Us release schedule to see when every episode drops around the world. 

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.