How Old Tһe Lаst Of Us Aсtors Are Compаred To Tһeir Cһаrасters

Actors aren’t always the same age as the characters they play. Here’s how the cast of HBO’s The Last of Us differ to their characters in age.

Pedro Pascal and Bellla Ramsey in HBO's The Last of Us; Joel and Ellie in the first game


  • Pedro Pascal excellently portrays Joel despite the age difference, bringing depth to the character in The Last of Us HBO series.
  • Bella Ramsey brings a youthful energy to Ellie in an incredible performance.
  • The Last of Us season 1 had to keep in mind that season 2 will involve a five-year time jump based on the games.

The Last of Us HBO series adapts its characters from the beloved video game, and they feel accurately portrayed even by the actors with age differences. The hit series is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has broken out and cities have been walled off into quarantine zones, with the land in between becoming essentially lawless and violent. The series follows Joel and Ellie, two characters that must traverse the United States, surviving against various forms of infection, as well as other humans they meet along the way.

While the premise is captivating on its own, the love for the game is primarily due to its characters. The found-family relationship between Joel and Ellie is one of the most beloved companionships in video games, and a faithful depiction on television was essential to making the series work. While the two leads take up the bulk of the screen time, there are side characters that were also important cast in correspondence to their video game counterparts. The Last of Us cast’s ages are according to their age when season 1 was released in January 2023.

10 Pedro Pascal (47) As Joel (56)

Pedro Pascal as Joel looking serious in The Last of Us

The casting of Pedro Pascal as Joel was one of the HBO adaptation’s greatest successes, despite him having the largest age difference to his character. The TV series made alterations to the video game timeline, changing the outbreak year from the game’s 2013 to 2003. Still taking place twenty years after the outbreak, the show now takes place in 2023, rather than 2033. In order to make Joel believable with the twenty-year gap between his flashback and current self, they aged the character up to 56. Pedro Pascal’s 47 puts him right in between the 36-year-old and 56-year-old versions of Joel, allowing him to play both.

9 Bella Ramsey (19) As Ellie (14)

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) looking scared in The Last of Us

Bella Ramsey fantastically portrayed Ellie in The Last of Us season 1, despite being years older than the character. Ramsey brings a youthful energy to Ellie, but their older age will allow them to continue portraying the character following the time jump to season 2. The second game picks up after a five-year time jump, and the series will follow in its footsteps. Bella Ramsay’s casting had The Last of Us season 2 foresight in mind, as the actor will be able to seamlessly shift to the older version of Ellie, without the show having to wait five years in between seasons.

8 Storm Reid (19) As Riley (16)

Riley in her dorm room in The Last of Us

Riley is an important character introduced late in season 1 through Ellie’s flashbacks. Ellie and Riley have a close bond that’s explored in DLC for The Last of Us game, and the show adapts her at the same age of 16. This creates a small but important age gap between the two characters, as Riley’s slight edge in age and maturity makes Ellie look up to her. The actress who played Riley, Storm Reid, was slightly older than her character, at 19 when the series was released.

7 Merle Dandridge (47) As Marlene (40s)

Marlene and a companion walking in the halls in The Last of Us

Merle Dandridge portrays Marlene in both The Last of Us game and TV series. Marlene is the leader of the Fireflies and an important supporting character in season 1 for her role in connecting Joel with Ellie. The game placed her in her 40s, making the actress perfect to continue playing the character, though the TV series never specified her age. With Merle Dandridge portraying both versions of the character, it’s hard to argue against the casting.

6 Gabriel Luna (40) As Tommy (50-51)

Tommy saying goodbye to Joel in The Last of Us

Similarly to Joel, Gabriel Luna is a bit younger than Tommy in The Last of Us, allowing him to also play the younger, flashback version of himself. In episode 4 of the HBO series, Joel explains that Tommy enlisted in the army to fight in the Gulf War at the age of 18, which would mean he was born in 1972 or 1973. This places Tommy around the age of 50, ten years older than the actor portraying him. There’s no indication of his exact age in the games.

5 Anna Torv (43) As Tess (Late 30s/Early 40s)

Tess looking scared at a Clicker about to kiss her in The Last of Us episode 2

Tess is an important supporting character early in the series, as someone Joel describes as being like family. The game version of Tess is 51 years old, but the age of Tess in The Last of Us show is not specified. In episode 2, Tess reveals that she was married and had a son before the outbreak, making it likely that she was at least 18 at the time. The best guess for Tess is that she’s around the age of Anna Torv, the actress who plays her in the show. Torv was 43 at the time season 1 was released.

4 Lamar Johnson (28) As Henry (20s)

Henry sitting in a chair in the underground bunker in Last of Us episode 5 on HBO

Henry and Sam are introduced in The Last of Us series in Kansas City in the show. Henry is the older brother and caretaker of Sam and is described in the game as being 25 years old. Importantly, Henry was a small child when the outbreak happened, and his younger brother was born years later. The games give some more exposition to Henry’s age and life before the outbreak, as his age is never specified in the series. Lamar Johnson, who played Henry on the HBO series, is a 28-years-old.

3 Keivonn Woodard (10) As Sam (8)

Sam sitting in the underground bunker in Last of Us episode 5 on HBO

Sam was a baby born into the world after the Cordyceps outbreak and is a highly sympathetic character in season 1. Aged down to be 8 years old in the show, as opposed to 13 in the game, Sam is a sweet kid who suffers a tragic ending. Sam is played by child actor Keivonn Woodard, who was 10 years old when the show was released. The young actor put on a fantastic performance in his limited time.

2 Nick Offerman (52) As Bill (Late 40s/Early 50s)

Bill looking at the TV screen while eating lunch in The Last of Us

Bill’s age and origins are never explored in the game, and while the TV adaptation provides some more information about his youth, there’s still no date of birth for the character. The best estimate that can be given for Bill’s age is that he’s around the age of Nick Offerman, who plays him. Offerman was 52 at the time of The Last of Us. One could accurately assume that Bill would be around the age of 50 in 2023, as he was already an established adult with a home and life of his own when the outbreak happened.

1 Murray Bartlett (51) As Frank (Late 40s/Early 50s)

Frank looking sad in The Last Of Us episode 3

Frank’s story was heavily expanded in HBO’s The Last of Us, as he never actually appears in the game. Frank appears only in flashbacks in episode 3, with exposition revealing he was an artist in Baltimore during the time of the outbreak. He is presumed to be a similar age to Bill. This would place him around the age of 50 in the year 2023, which properly corresponds to the age of Murray Bartlett, who was 51 at the time The Last of Us season 1 was filmed.

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