Ashley Johnson Talks About What It Meant For Her To Play In The Last Of Us Series

MOVIE NEWS – Ellie’s voice actress from the original play, Ashley Johnson, returned to pay tribute to the heroine in her own unique way, and was thrilled to do so. WARNING, this article contains spoilers for the final episode of the series!



The first season of HBO’s live-action adaptation of the award-winning The Last of Us ended last night. A record number of viewers tuned in to watch the final leg of Joel and Ellie’s arduous journey to Salt Lake City. They had some tough personal decisions to make after meeting Marlene at the city hospital. In addition, the finale revealed the origin of Ellie’s birth and her mysterious immunity to the Cordyceps fungus. But viewers also discovered the true identity of Ellie’s mother, Anna. She was played by Ashley Johnson, who was the voice of Ellie in both the first and second Naughty Dog games.

No doubt a delightful surprise for long-time fans, Johnson herself was delighted with the opportunity.

Collider reports that in an interview, she revealed his reaction to being asked to play Ellie’s mother in the final episode of the season.

Anna was not in the original game, only briefly referenced. Mostly we heard about her in Marlene’s voice-overs towards the end of the play. She made her formal debut in the series finale in a spectacular performance by Ashley Johnson. Anna’s appearance helped bring Ellie’s story and origins full circle. Adding even more weight to the impossible decision Joel (Pedro Pascal) makes in the hospital to take Ellie back from the Fireflies, no matter what the cost. Johnson told GamesRadar+ in an interview when she was first approached about the role. She was highly honoured and excited to pay tribute to Ellie in a unique way. Not least, she was given an opportunity that is rarely given to voice actors. In essence, she could step into the shoes of a new character that would directly impact the life of the character he originally played.

“Yeah, he just texted and said ‘Hey, Craig [Mazin] and I have been talking and, would you like to play Ellie’s mom?’ and I was just … projectile tears. I was just like ‘What? Are you serious?’…”The layers of being able to play Ellie’s mom and the metaphor of bringing her into the world and being the first person to fight to keep her alive,” Johnson says.

“It’s just wild to me – voice actors generally don’t get into the fold of putting something on screen. I’m so grateful and so happy, and I had a blast shooting it.”

Johnson’s performance coincided with Joel’s original voice actor Troy Baker’s own appearance in the penultimate episode. He plays David’s notorious partner in crime, James. Laura Bailey, who was Abby’s motion capture and voice actress in The Last of Us II, also appeared as a nurse in a Salt Lake City hospital.

Source: Collider, GamesRadar+

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