It’s been only a month since the show ended, and audiences are already clamoring for more. If you’re recovering from the finale of the premiere season of HBO’s The Last of Us, chances are that you’ve never played the epic video game the series is based on. Or, perhaps, you simply can’t wait to see the live-action realization of the sequel story. Undoubtedly, Pedro Pascal’s Joel Miller had to make an impossible choice. No matter which side of the fence you stand on with regard to the moral alignment of the situation, Joel has blood on his hands.
Like any gritty survival journey, blood often begets more blood. Abby, an imposing protagonist from The Last of Us Part II, will be an ominous harbinger of dark days yet to come. Though just like the ethical grey area Joel often finds himself in, Abby is just as conflicted. As far as survival in a post-apocalyptic landscape, Abby is absolutely built for it. Any actress up for the role must have a commanding presence, but ultimately be capable of peeling back the layers of Abby’s complex world.
Anya Taylor-Joy is only 26, but she’s already played an array of strong, memorable characters who share Abby’s steely determination and take-no-prisoners attitude. From her memorable debut as a spellbound teen who wants to “live deliciously” in The Witch to such recent roles as the resilient Margot in the comedic satire The Menu, Taylor-Joy has shown a remarkable talent for embodying characters that aren’t that likable but are still interesting to watch. Abby isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and she shouldn’t be; she’s set in her ways and determined to see through her mission.
In addition, Taylor-Joy can bring out Abby’s intelligence, which is often overshadowed by her sheer physical presence. In one of the best Netflix original series The Queen’s Gambit, Taylor-Joy showcased a knack for portraying a strategic genius (in that show, a chess player), which is something she can also accentuate if she portrays Abby.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask the latest incarnation of Lara Croft to embody the vengeance-seeking survivalist in the new season of The Last of Us. Of course, the game establishes through flashbacks and the alignment with Joel’s hospital massacre that Abby is likely around the same age as Ellie. Though, that doesn’t have to be the case in a retelling of the story. Alicia Vikander isn’t just a talented actress; she also has experience portraying remote, hard-edge protagonists as seen in the latest Tom Raider movie.
Vikander’s filmography isn’t just limited to action as she has worked in sci-fi (Ex Machina, one of the best sci-fi movies of the 2000s) as well as The Danish Girl, which won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Abby is more than just muscle and bravado. At her core, she’s devoted to the people she loves and is motivated by a sensible moral code despite her notable moment of brutality. It’s a role perfectly suited for Vikander’s A-list talent.
Most avid Netflix viewers might recognize Peyton List as the tried and tested Tory Nichols of Cobra Kai fame. The character of Abby will no doubt exact a physical element on any actress who plays the role. List’s proficiency in combat choreography during her time on the Cobra Kai series makes her a potentially wise choice for the role.
But of course, her physique and experience with martial arts are secondary to her competency in conveying the drama the role would demand. She’s come a long way since her time on the Disney Channel. Perhaps a role like Abby’s could be the next big highlight in her career.
It’s hard not to envision the Fast and Furious veteran Michelle Rodriguez when thinking of actresses with a penchant for being the rough-and-tumble type. Rodriguez would most certainly have a few years on Bella Ramsey’s Ellie. But again, an age difference doesn’t necessarily have to play into this story.
Most recently, Rodriguez portrays the muscle-bound barbarian Holga Kilgore in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves which gives her every level of credence necessary to nail down the fiercely intimidating fighter that Abby becomes. She once entertained us all in the television series Lost. Perhaps, she can make the jump from film to television once again.
This last winter, the MCU introduced a new hero in the form of Cassie Newton in the so-so Marvel movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. As played by up-and-coming actress Kathryn Newton, Cassie was tough when she had to be, vulnerable in unexpected moments, and was frequently the best character onscreen.
That’s Abby in The Last of Us Part II as well. As the driving force of the game, Abby would need an actress who could bring a combination of strength and sympathy to the role, which Newton has shown throughout her career that she can do. Even when playing a serial killer in the body-swap horror comedy Freaky, Newton was always watchable and oddly endearing even when she was hacking off limbs and busting heads.
Best known for her leading role in the Amazon Prime Video series The Wilds, Shannon Berry is a top contender for the role as far as fans are concerned. All it will take is one quick search for Shannon Berry on Twitter to find countless tweets from fans supporting her for the role. Physically, she resembles Abby in just about every way.
The video game creator himself, Neil Druckmann, may have inadvertently added fuel to this fan-flamed fire by following Berry on Instagram. While most accounts that he follows are in the gaming industry, he has followed actors and actresses he associates with in his line of work. Take that with a grain of salt, of course.
Imagine another Game of Thrones alum joining the ranks of the main cast. Sophie Turner’s Sansa Stark famously endured a 180-degree shift as she went from a helpless pawn of the Lannisters to the cold, calculating leader Westeros demands. We know that Turner can turn on the flame within her eyes when the moment calls for it.
While we saw Turner’s character of Sansa harden over time in the Game of Thrones series, she’d have to enter the world of The Last of Us as a force to be reckoned with from the beginning. While her story will undoubtedly show us her vulnerability and humanity, Abby ultimately needs to terrify and, possibly, anger viewers as a perceived formidable antagonist once she enters Ellie’s world.
Make no mistake, Captain Marvel is a force to be reckoned with, and Brie Larson has proven through both her superheroine career and her history of more dramatic roles that she has the depth and versatility to embody Abby. When it comes to delivering the goods, there are no half-measures with Larson. After all, she took home the 2016 Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for 2015’s Room.
It’s also not a secret that Larson is a gamer as she’s shared her love of the medium over social media and has also offered her talents in the marketing arena for Nintendo commercials. While it’s unknown whether she has played The Last of Us, it’s likely on her radar for being the mega-hit that it is in the realm of video games. With her award-winning talent, high profile within the movie industry, and established enthusiasm for video games, Larson could best embody Abby and bring new fans to an already popular show.
- Manifest season 4, part 2 trailer teases final episodes
- These 5 TV shows could be the next The Last of Us
- The Ark showrunners unpack season 1 finale and look ahead to season 2
- Yellowjackets season 2 episode 1’s shocking ending, explained
- Sweet Tooth season 2 trailer: the next Last of Us?