I’m Here For the Queer Rep in “The Last of Us” Official Trailer

Ellie and Riley The Last of Us
Ellie and Riley in “The Last of Us” (Image: Official Trailer)

HBO Max has released the first official trailer for the upcoming live-action The Last of Us TV series and I’m ready for the dramatic queer representation the narrative will offer!

Based on the very famous video game of the same name, The Last of Us series will follow Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they make their way through dangerous zombie-infected lands to a specific team working on creating a vaccine to save humanity. Due to the post-apocalyptic nature of such a fictional world and the trauma that every character has been through, you can tell from the trailer that Joel’s coldness toward Ellie will begin to thaw as the story progress. The main narrative will be about trusting others and finding your chosen family.

Judging from everything that was shown in the first official trailer, the show does seem to be well-shot. I like the settings, the costumes, and the special effects being used. And we all know that Pedro Pascal is in a lane of his own when it comes to playing father figures.

While the show promises suspense, thrills, heart-wrenching moments, horror, and action, I’m most looking forward to seeing how the creative team will handle the queer representation in the live-action adaptation of the 2013 video game. The trailer has got my hopes up. It does look like the creative team is changing things up to make the queer characters more layered.

The first ever canon in-game confirmation about Ellie being a queer lead character came via 2014’s The Last of Us DLC titled ‘TLoU: Left Behind‘. That particular piece of content explored Ellie’s romantic feelings for another girl survivor named Riley Abel. The trailer shows actress Storm Reid playing Riley Abel.

What happened between Riley and Ellie during the DLC is crucial to learn more about Ellie as a character. And a particular event connects to Ellie’s immunity to the devastating infection. However, in a sense, the writers could have found a way to explore Ellie’s immunity without involving Riley at all. So, kudos to the creative team for not ignoring Ellie’s queer young romance.

And that’s not all!

As for the relationship between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), if you go by what’s shown in the trailer, I think we will actually get to see how the two met each other and then went on to begin their romantic relationship.

Now, Bill and Frank’s storyline in the video game is quite a sad one. Frank isn’t really much of a character as we (via Joel and Ellie) get to learn about what happened to Frank through Bill and certain events that unfold.

So, it’s a good thing that the upcoming show will develop Bill and Frank’s relationship and make Frank more of a character. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the creative team changed Frank’s fate (similar to Laenor’s fate in House of the Dragon) and made his storyline with Bill less sad.

Perhaps Riley’s fate might also have been changed? Hmmm.

But then again, this is The Last of Us we’re talking about. Sadness and loss are part of the package. So, keep your tissues near.

The first season will premiere on HBO Max come January 15, 2023.

The Last of Us has everything to make it yet another show that experiences global success while also having a queer lead and a couple of queer-centric storylines. Let’s see what happens.

I’m so excited!

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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