Warning: Potential spoilers for The Last of Us: Part II to follow!
In the game’s first teaser trailer, we see Ellie sitting alone in a room, playing guitar and singing after what appears to have been a particularly nasty fight. The building she’s playing in is filled with corpses, and blood runs down her face — she doesn’t seem to care. Original protagonist Joel then enters the room.
“You really gonna go through with this?” Joel calmly asks Ellie.
To Reddit user “nerveonya,” this line is particularly important. By only addressing Ellie and not himself as well, it’s implied that Joel will not be taking part in the killing spree that Ellie is about to begin. Why won’t he be taking part?
He could actually be dead.
The user believes that this scene with Joel is simply a vision, and that after his death, Ellie will learn about her rescue at the end of The Last of Us — an event that ultimately saw Joel doom the human race as he chose to keep Ellie, the only known person immune to the fungus wiping out the human race, alive.
“She literally snaps,” the user said. “So she might do things like slaughter an entire house of people, and then just start strumming a guitar while one of the bodies bleeds on the floor next to her, ignoring the gash on her forehead.”
Creative director Neil Druckmann explained at PSX last weekend that The Last of Us: Part II is a story about “hate,” and is played from Ellie’s perspective. Joel’s death could very well be the event that sparked Ellie’s murderous spree.
Both “nerveonya” and other Twitter users also make mention of Joel’s physical appearance in the trailer. He first appears as a dark silhouette, with the warm light of the outside world surrounding him.
Of course, this could all be a bunch of nonsense, and Joel could very well be alive and kicking in the sequel. Other fans have already voiced their opposition to the fan theory. BWestworld writer Halley Gross has been brought on board to help Druckmann with the story, and if you’ve watched the series, you know that almost anything is possible.