It is official: Bella Ramsey's character will not be recast for The Last of Us season 2. Neil Druckmann, one of the series co-creators, confirmed the news to The Wrap following season 1's finale, which premiered on HBO Max on March 12, 2023.
"We are extremely lucky to have Bella… and the only way we would ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, 'I don't want to work with you guys anymore,'" Druckmann told the outlet. “And even then, we're not sure we would grant her that. We might force her to come back this season."
Speculation about Bella's potential recasting first started when fans pointed out that season 2's storyline, much like the second part of the video game the series is based on, will feature a five-year time jump. Many fans online theorized that Bella would be "too young" to play this version of Ellie. However, as co-creator Craig Mazin pointed out, the rumors were baseless to begin with. "She's only 19 now, which by the way, is the age of Ellie in the Last of Us: Part II," Mazin told The Wrap, addressing naysayers. (For reference, during season 1, Ellie is just 14 years old.)
Mazin also emphasized how HBO Max's adaptation of The Last of Us has already and will continue to introduce changes from the video games. "Sometimes it will be different radically and sometimes it will be barely different at all, but it's going to be different and it will be its own thing," the showrunner added. “It won't be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make. We are making it with Bella.”
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