Ashley Johnson Reveals Her Reaction to Playing Ellie’s Mother in The Last of Us Finale

The following article contains spoilers for the finale episode of The Last of Us.

HBO’s live-action adaptation of the award-winning game The Last of Us has officially serenaded the end of its first season as of last night. Yet another record number of viewers tuned in to watch the end of Joel and Ellie’s painstaking journey to Salt Lake City, where some impossibly heavy personal choices were made between the two of them upon meeting Marlene and The Fireflies at the city hospital. On top of that, the finale revealed the origin of Ellie’s birth and her mysterious immunity to the cordyceps fungal infection.

udiences also discovered the true identity of Ellie’s mother, Anna, who was played by none other than Ashley Johnson, the voice actress of Ellie in both the first and second games from Naughty Dog. No doubt a very welcome surprise to longtime fans, Johnson herself was ecstatic to have the opportunity. Per a report from Collider, she disclosed in an interview about her response to receiving the call to play Ellie’s mother in the last episode of the season.

Related: The Last of Us Creators Address Ellie’s Dad and Key Scene from Season Finale

Johnson on Playing Ellie’s Mother and the Impact of Cameo Tributes on the Story


Anna was a character that did not appear in the original game, only briefly referenced, mostly by Marlene in audio recordings near the end of the game. Formally introduced in the show’s finale in a spectacular performance by Ashley Johnson, Anna’s appearance helped bring Ellie’s story and origin full circle, adding even more weight to the impossible choice Joel (Pedro Pascal) makes at the hospital to take Ellie back from the Fireflies, no matter the cost. Johnson opened up in an interview to GamesRadar+ about when she was first contacted about the role, and how honored and excited she was to pay homage in a special way to Ellie. Not only that, she was given an opportunity that voice actors rarely ever have, to fill the shoes of essentially a new character that directly impacts the life of the character she 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,” says Johnson. “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 cameo came on the cusp of Joel’s original voice actor Troy Baker’s own cameo in the penultimate episode as David’s infamous accomplice, James. Laura Bailey, who was the motion capture and voice actor for Abby in The Last of Us Part II, also appeared as one of the nurses at the Salt Lake City hospital.

You can view the original article HERE.

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