Cаstinɡ Tһis Lаst Of Us 2 Cһаrасter Is Cruсiаl To Seаson 2’s Suссess (& It’s Not Abby)

There’s been tons of buzz about the importance of casting a perfect Abby in The Last of Us season 2, but casting this TLOU2 character is also crucial.

Dina from TLOU2 and Bella Ramsey as Ellie from The Last of Us on HBO

Spoilers ahead for The Last of Us Part 2 and HBO’s The Last of Us season 1.


  • Casting the right actors for the characters in The Last of Us season 2 is crucial for the success of the show.
  • The show’s track record of well-realized characters bodes well for its sophomore season, but the transition from game to TV may not be completely smooth.
  • A well-cast Dina is just as important as a well-cast Abby, as Dina and Ellie’s relationship is the emotional core of The Last of Us Part 2.

Casting the perfect Abby isn’t the only crucial actor-centric decision that lies ahead for HBO’s The Last of Us season 2. In fact, there’s another character from The Last of Us Part 2 whose casting could be a make-or-break-it move for the lauded show’s sophomore season. So far, HBO’s The Last of Us‘ cast of characters proves the series has struck gold: Pedro Pascal plays Joel with a perfect blend of emotional nuance and world-weary grit, while Bella Ramsey’s Ellie is just precocious enough without being one-note. Given the series’ narrative turns, great casting matters a lot for TLOU season 2.

In The Last of Us season 1, supporting characters, ranging from Tommy (Gabriel Luna), Joel’s brother, to Riley (Storm Reid), Ellie’s late best friend-turned-crush, were also incredibly well-realized. That track record bodes well for the show’s sophomore outing, but that doesn’t mean the game-to-TV transition will go completely smoothly, either. For long-time players and fans of the franchise, any new imagining of a crucial character can feel jarring at first. Not to mention, as TV audiences form attachments to HBO’s versions of The Last of Us‘ characters, adding to that ensemble becomes even more difficult.

Casting A Perfect Dina Is Just As Important As Abby For The Last Of Us Season 2

Dina and Ellie breakup in TLOU2

Story-wise, there’s no denying that The Last of Us season 2 has more challenges ahead. Reportedly, HBO’s sophomore outing will pull from The Last of Us Part 2, which takes place five years after the events of the first game (and season). The sequel game also features large chunks of story set in the intervening years, most of which focus on Joel and Ellie’s changing relationship. It’s not yet clear if TLOU season 2 will take a more chronological approach or stick to the game’s back-and-forth-in-time approach. If it’s the latter, the secondary player character, Abby, would kill Joel early on in TLOU season 2.

With Joel and Ellie’s relationship serving as the emotional core of season 1, a sophomore installment that follows the source material’s plotting would have to find a new emotional center. While the revenge premise is strong, especially in an interactive medium, it’s the blend of tough and tender that makes Ellie such a fan-favorite character. After the events of The Last of Us, Ellie and Joel settle in the Jackson, Wyoming community led by Tommy’s wife, Maria (Rutina Wesley). There, Ellie meets Dina — a fellow survivor who eventually becomes Ellie’s partner. As Ellie’s vital support, a well-cast Dina can help foster the audience’s goodwill.

Dina & Ellie’s Relationship in The Last Of Us 2 Explained

Ellie and Dina lying together in TLOU2

In Jackson, Ellie and Dina become fast friends as teens, though both of them pursue other romantic partners. Just before the opening of TLOU2, Dina breaks things off with her long-term boyfriend, Jesse, and asks Ellie to dance with her at a community-wide celebration. A bit uncomfortable in the spotlight, Ellie remarks that every guy there is staring at Dina, who, in turn, suggests that all the guys are just jealous of Ellie. I’m…just a girl,” Ellie says. “Not a threat. After saying the men should be “terrified” of Ellie, Dina kisses her. The next day, just after the two cement their budding relationship, Abby kills Joel.

Vengeful, Ellie decides to follow Abby to Seattle. “Ellie,” Dina says. “You go. I go. End of story.” Confident and unwavering, Dina is exceptionally easy to root for, making her a much-needed addition to Ellie’s revenge quest. At times, Ellie’s one-track mind pushes her to commit horrible acts of violence against Abby’s group. Throughout most of the game, Dina is able to find Ellie’s softness — that vulnerability — and allow the player to see it too. This kind of dynamic is essential in the TV adaptation as well. Without well-cast characters like Dina, who helps show off Ellie’s layers, she’d become a one-note revenge-seeker.

Young Dina May Have Already Appeared In TLOU Season 1

Dina cameo in TLOU HBO with Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie

Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that a young Dina appears briefly as the girl Ellie shouts at in Last of Us season 1, episode 6, “Kin.” Upon first arriving in Jackson, Joel and Ellie share a meal with Tommy and Maria in the community’s canteen. Even though Joel’s just told Ellie to mind her manners, the teen snaps at a girl who’s seemingly spying on them from across the canteen: “What are you looking at?” Series creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann were a bit evasive when it came to confirming Last Of Us episode 6’s Dina cameo theory.

Druckmann, who penned the video games, notes that the source material’s Dina and Ellie have a very similar first meeting, prompting Mazin to say, “That doesn’t mean that that’s Dina, but it doesn’t mean it’s not.” Regardless, the character never crops up again. The Last of Us season 1’s maybe-Dina appearance is more like a nod to the character’s in-universe existence than a proper introduction of a key cast member. Still, given just how crucial Dina is to the success of The Last of Us Part 2, HBO’s team needs to cast the perfect on-screen counterpart for The Last of Us season 2 to triumph.

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