The Last of Us cast is expanding in a big way. IGN is exclusively reporting that brothers Sam and Henry, who play an important role in the original video game’s story, will be played by Keivonn Woodard and Lamar Johnson, respectively. Set photos of the pair with Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsay’s Ellie circulated the internet a few months back, but no confirmation of the actor’s identities could be made at the time. In addition to Woodard and Johnson, the live-action adaptation has also cast Graham Greene and Elaine Miles as new characters Marlon and Florence. This duo is an entirely new creation for the show and did not play a part in Naughty Dog’s virtual series of post-apocalyptic adventures.
The report says Woodard and Florence will be portrayed as a married couple living alone in the Wyoming wilderness, a state familiar to gamers as the home of Gabriel Luna’s Tommy and the basis of his survivalist community. Interestingly, the press release that came with the casting announcements included a bit of information that reveals a major story change for the HBO series. In the video game, Joel and Ellie meet Sam and Henry while on the run from a group of deadly scavengers in Pittsburgh, but in the show, they will instead meet the brothers while hiding from a revolutionary movement in Kansas City. While the movement itself remains unnamed, the group will supposedly be “seeking vengeance” when they encounter the protagonists on their cross-country journey.
This is a departure from the events of The Last of Us Part 1, but it does sound a lot like the Washington Liberation Front from The Last of Us Part II. Perhaps this change was made to better connect the stories for a potential second or third season. It could also be that this revolutionary movement is a branch of the Fireflies, who play a large role in both games and may have reason to want revenge on Pascal’s Joel.