In Response to Last of Us Character Casting Criticism [OPINION]


Evan Deickman


“Billions of puppets with poisoned minds permanently fixed on one unifying goal: to spread the infection to every last human alive by any means necessary.” 

The thrill of an apocalypse has long dawned on the minds of people; for decades, this idea of the world ending has always been a unique fantasy. From real-life consequences to works of fiction, this idea of the destruction of everything is something we can’t wrap our heads around.

So, we seek out media. 

The Last of Us, a beloved video game franchise-turned TV adaption has been regarded as having one of the best stories of any video game.

“There’s very little left to be said about the original The Last of Us,” Luke Reilly, IGN games editor said. ”It’s widely lauded as one of the best games of all time and one of the few to get a 10 from IGN.” 

However, even with this outstanding review from one of the most well-known media websites, many people have been less than satisfied with the casting choices of the new HBO series. 

“But when it comes from a place where it’s just a disdain toward any kind of inclusivity, that’s where I don’t care. I don’t value that opinion and I don’t agree,”  Nico Parker, the actress who plays Sarah Miller, said in response to complaints of “racebending.” 

Even with some of the fans disagreeing with the casting, “if young kids watch the show and feel they’re represented through race or hair or anything, that’s ten times more important than anyone who doesn’t like it.” 

Parker isn’t the only person who is getting backlash for their casting in the show. Bella Ramsey, the lead actress who plays Ellie in the series, has gotten backlash for not looking like the game character.

“Not even close to Ellie :/ Both aesthetics and voice etc… unfortunate since it’s one of the main characters,”  a Twitter user, @oOStep_Oo,  said in response to the first look at Ramsey’s casting. “Adaptation or not, it’s still can be disappointing especially for the game fans.” 

Personally, after watching the first three episodes of the show, I think the actors cast did an amazing job of fulfilling the roles that Ellie, Sarah, and Joel have in the video game and in this new series, and I’m looking forward to the next few episodes of this series. 

If the actor can act, and they’re the right fit, it shouldn’t matter what their ethnicity is, what they look like, or if they can grow a full beard or not to be a good actor. I think this is just one of many examples of online media lashing out at studios for “bad” casting. 

To continue to live in a fantasy world of perfect casting and not differentiating from the source material is childish, and even fans who loved the game for what it was, still understand and love how Ramsey and the whole cast have portrayed the game.

“I literally have no issues that she doesn’t look like Ellie as long as she nails the role and I’m pretty confident she will. There is a reason why she was casted,” sTwitter user, @Nanofathering siad. 

It’s time to be more open-minded toward casting and character selection. Though not everything is going to be perfectly cast, it doesn’t mean people can dictate the fate of the series in response. 

“It’s only recently that I’ve accepted I am Ellie, and I can do it, and I am a good actor,” Ramsey said